iCarly star Jennette McCurdy is speaking out about her time working at Nickelodeon through her new memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died and among the other damning and heartbreaking revelations about what went on behind the scenes, she revealed that the company offered her $300,000 in “hush money” to keep quiet about her abuse under “The Creator.” The excerpt released by Vanity Fair includes details on the interactions she had with company agents following her spinoff show Sam & Cat‘s cancellation and her subsequent departure from Nickelodeon.
Back at the time of iCarly‘s run, McCurdy had broken out as a star opposite Miranda Cosgrove and was offered the chance to star opposite Arianna Grande in a spin-off. During discussions for her contract for the show, however, McCurdy described being abused by “The Creator” who not only emotionally manipulated her but also pushed her to consume alcohol at only 18 and inappropriately massaged her shoulders without her consent. She described being fearful of stopping him due to the power dynamic at the time, saying, “My shoulders do have a lot of knots in them, but I don’t want The Creator to be the one rubbing them out. I want to say something, to tell him to stop, but I’m so scared of offending him.”
In her final days at Nickelodeon, McCurdy described a hopeless feeling after spending so many years of her life in the “phony, bizarre sphere” of the company. When her show was finally canceled, she was approached by agents who offered her “hush money” while disguising it as a “thank-you gift” from Nickelodeon. McCurdy writes that one of her managers told her “They’re giving you three hundred thousand dollars and the only thing they want you to do is never talk publicly about your experience at Nickelodeon.” Expressing her outrage, she said in the memoir:
What the f—? Nickelodeon is offering me $300,000 in hush money to not talk publicly about my experience on the show? My personal experience of The Creator’s abuse? This is a network with shows made for children. Shouldn’t they have some sort of moral compass? Shouldn’t they at least try to report to some sort of ethical standard?
McCurdy doesn’t elaborate on who “The Creator” is, but it’s not difficult to guess. Dan Schneider, the man behind some of Nickelodeon‘s biggest shows, including iCarly, Sam & Cat, Zoey 101, and Drake & Josh among others, has been dogged by allegations of abuse in the workplace both from former cast members and employees. In 2018, he finally departed from the network amidst investigations from ViacomCBS. The results of those investigations were published in 2021 and, according to the New York Times, concluded that Schneider had a temper and was prone to verbally abusing co-workers.
Moreover, several actors interviewed claimed Schneider had asked them to give him massages, and it was clear he’d often text actors outside work hours. This is all without considering the general unease felt by audiences about how he seemed to treat child actors and claims of sexualizing actors in their shows.
Nobody from Nickelodeon has publicly pointed the finger at Schneider for his actions, but what happened to McCurdy was not an entirely unknown occurrence. Stories like these only back what the public has had a general idea of for years. These are only allegations, but combined with the years of suspicion surrounding Nickelodeon and Schneider, it’s a troubling image for the network and heartbreaking for all who suffered.
McCurdy‘s memoir I’m Glad My Mom’s Dead releases on August 9.