Jennette McCurdy says Nickelodeon offered her ‘hush money’
Former iCarly star Jennette McCurdy has made significant claims against Nickelodeon, ranging from not being allowed the same privileges as her Sam & Cat co-star Ariana Grande to a “gift” of $300,000 if she agreed to never speak out about her experiences at the famed children’s network.
An excerpt published by Vanity Fair from McCurdy’s new memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, went into detail of McCurdy’s experience as a rising TV star. An unnamed man, referred to as “the Creator,” allegedly pressured McCurdy to drink while underage, and gave her massages. While “the Creator” is not named in the book, iCarly was notoriously the brainchild of Dan Schneider, who was investigated by ViacomCBS prior to his 2018 departure from Nickelodeon.
McCurdy’s alleged “the Creator” had a two-face personality that included a “generous and over-the-top complimentary” side, as well as a “mean-spirited, controlling, and terrifying” one that could make “grown men and women” cry with his insults and insult.”
While “the Creator” later faced significant consequences for his behavior at the network, McCurdy wrote she was told that she would receive the $300,000 “thank-you gift” as long as she agreed never talking publicly about her experience at Nickelodeon. Ultimately, she chose not to accept it.
“What the f**k? Nickelodeon is offering me three hundred thousand dollars in hush money to not talk publicly about my experience on the show? My personal experience of The Creator’s abuse?” McCurdy wrote. “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?”
While McCurdy was promised an iCarly spinoff, the program ultimately became Sam & Catin which she co-starred with Grande, who reprised her role from the series Victorious. But while Grande was allowed to pursue work opportunities outside the program, McCurdy was told by executives she could not.
“What finally undid me was when Ariana came whistle-toning in with excitement because she had spent the previous evening playing charades at Tom Hanks’s house. That was the moment I broke,” McCurdy wrote in the memoir.
McCurdy detailed other incidents at the network, including how she was embarrassed by being pictured in a bikini at a wardrobe fitting. When she voiced her concerns to her mother, she was told by her to deal with it, since “everyone wants what you have.”
That response was just a piece of the complex relationship with her late mother. While she struggled with set life, she has also spoken about how her home life was very challenging.
“My earliest memories of childhood were of heaviness, and chaos,” McCurdy told People in 2021, sharing that she witnessed serious physical fighting at home between her parents. “My mom’s emotions were so erratic that it was like walking a tightrope every day. The mood fluctuations were daily.”
Though the actress was terribly shy, she said her mother “always dreamed of being a famous actor and she became obsessed with making me a star.” That included monitoring and controlling her food. At the time, McCurdy suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders and anxiety.
“I know if my mom was alive, I’d still have an eating disorder,” McCurdy shared. “It was only distance from her that allowed me to get healthy.”