Zoey 101 Star Matthew Underwood Reveals He Was Sexually Assaulted by Former Agent, Which Led Him to Quit Acting

Miu von Furstenberg 3 Min Read
3 Min Read
Matthew Underwood
Photo via mattunderwood/Instagram

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Former teen actor Matthew Underwood, famed for his role on Nickelodeon's hit series Zoey 101, bravely came forward with allegations of sexual assault during his time in Hollywood. The revelation was made public on Friday (Mar. 29, 2024) when Underwood, now 33, addressed his fans and followers in a candid Instagram post.

Underwood's disclosure echoes the disturbing narratives that have surfaced in the wake of the recent Quiet On Set documentary series on Investigation Discovery (ID). The series shines a light on a troubling pattern of abuse, misogyny, and racial discrimination that permeated Nickelodeon, often considered a staple for millennial viewers.

In a deeply personal admission, Matthew Underwood shared his traumatic experiences as a young actor. “I know many folks want me to respond to the Quiet On Set documentary. I’m going to share something with you that I never thought I’d have to talk about publicly, as it’s honestly none of your business anyway,” Underwood, now 33, wrote on Instagram on Friday.

Matthew Underwood at a Fashion and Music Extravaganza Promoting Human Rights for Youth Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre Pavilion Los Angeles CA 04-14-07
Matthew Underwood and Cassidy Lehrman at a Fashion and Music Extravaganza Promoting Human Rights for Youth. Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by S Buckley)

“When I was 12 years old, I was groomed and molested by my best friends’ stepfather,” he continued. “I lost the best friends I’d ever had because I couldn’t spend any time with them without feeling the personal disgust and betrayal brought on by a man I trusted as a father to me. When I was 19, I was sexually harassed and then assaulted by my agent at the time, who had spent a decent amount of time building trust with me as a friend and mentor.”

“Again, my trust was betrayed, and my self-image crushed,” Underwood said. I reported him to the agency, and he has since been fired—although he is still active in the industry. This experience provoked my move away from LA and ended my pursuit of acting.”

Matthew Underwood at a Fashion and Music Extravaganza Promoting Human Rights for Youth Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre Pavilion Los Angeles CA 04-14-07
Matthew Underwood “Sydney White” World Premiere Mann's Bruin Theater Westwood, CA September 20, 2007 ©2007 (Photo by Kathy Hutchins / Hutchins Photo)

Quiet On Set also features the testimony of Drake Bell, another Nickelodeon icon from Drake and Josh, who reported similar instances of abuse by his dialogue coach, Brian Peck, who faced legal consequences for his actions.

The four-part documentary interviews various individuals with claims against Dan Schneider, a once-celebrated producer responsible for several of Nickelodeon's successful series. These interviews depict an environment fraught with power abuse and inappropriate behavior.

Matthew Underwood's brave step forward to share his story follows a growing chorus of voices from former Nickelodeon actors, emphasizing the urgent need for systemic change within the industry.


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