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Matthew Underwood Believes in ‘Growth’ After Sexual Assault Story

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Matthew Underwood
Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

Matthew Underwood is optimistic that people can change if they put in the work.

“I have made mistakes in my past, many. I make s–ty mistakes every day, that’s just part of life as a fallible human,” the Zoey 101 alum, 33, wrote via Reddit on Sunday, March 31. “I hold opinions that I will likely find to be irrational in my future and I hold beliefs that will surely be proven wrong by science one day – the beauty of being human is that when I discover my opinions might have been wrong or that my beliefs may have been misguided, I am capable of changing my opinions and beliefs to be a better person.”

Underwood, who recently revealed he was sexually assaulted by an unnamed agent, replied to a Reddit user who shared they didn’t think that Nickelodeon creator Dan Schneider was sorry for his alleged toxic behavior that was highlighted in Quiet on Set.

The former actor, who worked with Schneider on Zoey 101 from 2005 to 2008, confessed that he would “hate to be judged” based on his behavior solely from the past decade. While Underwood wasn’t specific about what mistakes he made in the past, he admitted he has “grown” and is “not that person today.” Despite being open to people wanting to make amends, Underwood isn’t quick to let bygones be bygones.

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“I do not extend forgiveness on a whim to anyone who asks for it, that would be naive. I simply reserve the idea that it is fully possible that people can recognize their wrongs and people have the capacity to be better,” he shared. “I do not reject apologies when I am angry and I try to not make judgments about their sincerity based on my personal feelings about them. I like to offer opportunities to people to prove themselves to be better and I like to encourage that journey of growth in hopes that they might find fulfillment in being that better person.”

Underwood explained that from his perspective, people who aren’t given the opportunity of a second chance end up spiraling into “being even worse people.” He noted that he’s hopeful an olive branch can help put people who’ve wronged others on the right path.

“When giving someone an opportunity to be better, it’s necessary to intensely scrutinize their recovery and not accept half assed progress,” he penned. “There are no free passes in life, but there doesn’t have to be lifelong hate for anyone either.”

Underwood acknowledged that his option might not be the “correct” one for most people, and he respects that. He added that the open conversation is “valuable” as it helps society as a whole “grow.”

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“I want to live in a world where we can disagree and still communicate cordially about those differences,” he shared. “I agree with you that it takes a lot of work to be a better person and a simple apology doesn’t cut it.”

Underwood’s message comes days after he came forward about his sexual assault experience, which ultimately led him to quit acting after starring on Nick’s Zoey 101 as Logan for four seasons. In 2023, He reprised the role for the revival film, Zoey 102. His decision to open up about the abuse came weeks after the docuseries Quiet on Set dropped on Investigation Discovery.

While Underwood was not featured in the doc, many criticized him for not speaking out about his experience on Nickelodeon. The series featured many former Nickelodeon stars and staff who recalled the toxic work environment and alleged abuse under the leadership of Schneider, who created Zoey 101, iCarly and more.

“I imagine many of my friends in the business are being equally harassed if they aren’t joining the chorus,” Underwood wrote via Instagram on Friday, March 29. “So I’m sharing this with hope that some of you can recognize that just because a person doesn’t shout from the rooftops that pedophiles are bad or that people can suck — that does not mean they don’t have their own reasons for staying silent, good reasons, personal reasons.”

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Underwood added that he did not have a bad experience working with Schneider or Nickelodeon and that after seeing him apologize for his behavior, he was hopeful it would help Schneider become a “creator and coworker everyone can enjoy working with.”

Underwood later faced backlash for his optimistic remarks and clarified he was not defending Schneider.

“I know whatever I say will find a way to be twisted by someone, but my attention was unfortunately brought to this thread and I feel it’s necessary to try and clarify,” he responded to a Reddit post on Saturday, March 30. “I feel I might be able to sum up my intentions in that section with an example; I truly wish that even the men who violated me WANTED to be better humans, and if they truly did want that and they made an effort to try to be a better human, I want to live in a world that could positively reinforce that change by offering them opportunities to be that better human being.”


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