Dustin Diamond has finished his jail sentence, and his first post-prison interview went to his former Saved By the Bell co-star Mario Lopez. In an interview with Lopez’ Extra, Diamond, who played Screech on the ’90s teen sitcom, talked about the barroom brawl that led to his jail stint, as well as his questionable Behind the Bell tell-all book and his controversial sex tape.
Dustin Diamond was sentenced to four months in Ozaukee County Jail in Wisconsin after being charged with disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon after a 2014 altercation in a bar. In the Extra interview, Diamond told Lopez that he was defending his fiancée Amanda Schutz when the incident went down after a group of people approached them and asked to take a photo.
“One of the girl’s friends [Amanda] was talking to sucker-punched my fiancée… she leaned back to me and her face was covered in blood.” Dustin said.
Diamond said after his fiancée was punched, a male at the bar grabbed Amanda by the hair, and that’s when he jumped in and was tackled by the guy, Casey Smet. But Diamond claims he didn’t actually stab Smet.
“I opened my pocket knife and said, ‘Let my wife go immediately,’ which worked,” Dustin explained. “I had my pocket knife like this… and the blade was right here and the guy came from around me and grabbed my throat, and so he nicked his arm on the tip of it — it was a Band-Aid, the most expensive Band-Aid I’ve ever bought.”
Diamond revealed that he was released from jail after three months after he worked as a janitor. The former child star said jail was “a scary environment,” but added that “as long as you follow the rules and stay with the system, it works. You can get in and out unscathed.”
Dustin Diamond set the record straight on his bizarre 2006 sex tape, Screeched, admitting to Lopez that it wasn’t actually him in the raunchy video but that he agreed to put his name on it for the money.
“There was a stunt person,” Diamond said. “I had to take a chance. What if that thing had made $3 or 4 million?”
Diamond also came clean about his 2009 tell-all book, Behind the Bell, which included stories of cast member hookups, pot smoking while filming an anti-drug episode, and even an alleged date rape that the book claimed NBC covered up with hush money. Diamond admitted the book has damaged his relationship with his former Saved By the Bell castmates, but he said it was written by a ghostwriter who made up a bunch of lies.
“I wanted to write a book about my life,” Diamond said. “I was supposed to talk to a ghostwriter for 40 hours total. I talked to a guy for 90 minutes total… another two weeks go by, and I get something in the mail, I get a copy of the book… They fabricated a whole bunch of stuff… I kind of super-railroaded on that.”
Dustin Diamond previously slammed the rogue ghostwriter when talking about the Lifetime movie that was based on his book. In a 2014 interview with the Associated Press, Dustin revealed he hadn’t been in contact with most of his SBTB co-stars in more than 20 years.
“The Lifetime movie is going to be based on my book in the way that it’s a behind-the-scenes look, but my book was written by a ghost writer, and they tried to milk the negativity,” Diamond said. “It wasn’t supposed to be a dirty tell-all…The last time I saw Mark-Paul and Tiffany, I was 16 …That’s a hefty amount of time to traverse in growth. I’ve done a lot of stuff since I was 16. I made a lot of growth changes.”
While Dustin still says he has not talked to ex-SBTB castmates Marc Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen, or Elizabeth Berkley in years, he is now hoping the book mess will get cleared up.
“Imagine how I feel, I haven’t talked to Marc Paul or Elizabeth or Tiffani in ages, so I can’t imagine what they think, and I’m hoping this will clear it up,” Dustin said. “It wasn’t me, I didn’t write this. I was just as shocked and appalled.”
Diamond told Lopez that he’s now ready for a fresh start and plans to focus on marrying his longtime fiancée and starting a family. He also plans to get back into acting.
“I want to put the tomfoolery and malarkey behind me… for that clean slate,” Diamond said. “Time for a change.”
Ahead of Dustin Diamond’s jail stint, his attorney, Thomas Alberti, told People his client would serve 120 overnights in jail and would still be able to pursue work as an actor and a stand-up comedian.
“It’ll be a total of 120 overnights,” Alberti said last June. “He has to report on Sunday at 6:30 p.m., and then he’ll be out Monday morning to pursue work, and then he’ll report back.”
Dustin Diamond was released from jail last month, but he is still on probation.
Take a look at the video below to see Dustin Diamond talking about his biggest regrets after being a child star.
[Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images]