Did Dustin Diamond Really Punch a Heckler at the Movies? There Are Mixed Accounts
If you've been following the news, Dustin Diamond is no one's favorite costar from Saved by the Bell, but does the notorious Diamond have it in him to beat up a heckler at the movies? Diamond has been collecting a lot of ire for his brash, crude, uncensored, (and often cited as inaccurate) take on his life as a child star, Behind the Bell. Despite the blowback to the book and Diamond as a personality, Lifetime decided to adapt the juicy work into a TV movie. Meanwhile the rest of the cast has gone on record to say the project is nothing more than a fictional retelling of a loose string of events.
It's not hard to believe how fake or exaggerated the work might be; Diamond himself certainly isn't subtle about the chip on his shoulder, portraying a scorned outcast as a sort of dark, real life version of his Screech character. However, there may be less truth in that than the possibility that the abrasive former TV star may be the one alienating everyone.
Even author Diamond blames the book's outcome on a ghostwriter and his publisher pulling from brief interviews with the actor and also denying him a first look before publication. The trailer for the movie paints a pretty petty and unflattering picture of the young stars, who squabble and mostly act like actual bratty teenagers. Most notably, a young Diamond punches a fan in the face while in line for the movies for calling him "Screech."
But did all of that really happen? If you ask Diamond, he's finally ready to admit that no, most of it, including the punch, did not. Time reports that scene in particular surprised the actor, because it was a complete fabrication. Diamond brings up that none of the telefilm's writers were there, remarking:
I didn’t talk to [the writers] really, so how did they research? I’m going to watch with very nervous hopes . . . if they butcher it and get it completely wrong, I’m just going to film a documentary of just me talking about the errors.
It looks like even Diamond can no longer stomach the exaggeration his book deal has unleashed onto the world, and my guess is he's finally feeling the sting of everyone's scorn. The Time piece also highlights Diamond's disbelief that people think he's kind of a jerkwad, despite some pretty damning turns on Celebrity Fit Club, and his stint as a porn producer in the skeevy amateur title Screeched: Saved By the Smell.
His newfound remorse is very convenient timing wise, seeing as how he could have demonstrated his shock at the content when the book was first released. But who has time to defend their own honor when you've got some sweet book sale checks to cash? And now, the new redemption storyline kicks in right as the TV movie is about to be released. Not when it was being produced mind you, but after the trailer has hit and it's about to premiere.
While that all seems a little bit fishy, does Diamond's attempt at making amends means we have an actual SBTB reunion to look forward to in the future? Former '90s kids can only dream.