The actor, who played Samuel “Screech” Powers on the teen dramedy, stopped by The Dr. Oz Show, where he opened up about his struggle to reach his former Bayside High pals with his regrets about the memoir.
In the episode, which airs Thursday, Nov. 10, Diamond admits to Dr. Oz that his self-destructive behaviour — ranging from his sex tape, Screeched, to being arrested during a Wisconsin barroom brawl on Christmas Day in 2014 — has led to a rift between him and his former castmates on the iconic high-school sitcom, and he wants to make things right.
“Oddly enough, it’s doing interviews like this and getting the word out there. This is my best weapon for repairing the damage that was caused by things that were done by people who took advantage of me and the situation I was in at the time,” Diamond explains of how he’s trying to mend fences.
“I will say, guys, I think you’re fantastic, working with you has been just one of the icons [sic] of my life and I’m sorry that this has taken advantage of me — the book and other situations I’m sure we’ll talk about here,” he says to his former castmates, looking directly into the camera. “But I’m sure that you’ve experienced downfalls, as well, in your time, and I’m still loving you guys.”
As for the tell-all, Dr. Oz runs down some of the more salacious tidbits, including allegations of rampant drug use among the actors, as well as Diamond’s claims that everybody in the cast was “sleeping around” with each other. Diamond even accused some of the teens of sleeping with TV executives. “These claims understandably are upsetting,” Dr. Oz says.
“Upsetting to more than just the other cast members — upsetting to me as well,” says Diamond, who admits that he didn’t actually write it. “As it turns out, the general public doesn’t realize, I didn’t write the book. I had a ghostwriter.”
When asked if he keeps in touch with any of the people from his Saved By the Bell days, Diamond reveals he still speaks to only two of the cast members.
“Well, I hadn’t talked to most of the castmates in a long time. Mario Lopez (Slater) and I speak frequently, and Dennis Haskins (Belding) and I speak frequently. Of course, Slater and Belding,” he says.
“And they know what I went through, but the rest of the cast — Mark-Paul [Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris] I haven’t seen since I was 16 years old, so I feel terrible for it, but what can I do? I guess tweet him,” he continues. “Unfortunately, being in the entertainment industry, you get fleeced a lot and you get taken advantage of a lot. And it hasn’t been my first bout with that, and so I’ve gotten good at just kind of brushing it off and moving forward. If I dwell on the past, then it just eats at me and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
These days, Diamond is a musician and a stand-up comedian. He says that he understands that Saved By the Bell had a huge impact on an entire generation of kids.
“I’ve had people multiple times come up to me, I mean, we’re talking hundreds and… thousands of people that have come up and said, ‘You got me through high school,'” he says. “‘You know, I was the Screech in my school and you represented everything that I felt at that time,’ which I never thought of when I was doing the show… it was work for me. I didn’t think about the impact I had on the fan base until years later.”