“My heart starts beating fast. It makes me angry,” Jennette McCurdy told the Washington Post about experiences she says took place on the sets of Nickelodeon’s iCarly and Sam & Cat . McCurdy starred on the two shows between 2007 and 2014, both of which were created, written and produced by Dan Schneider.
The occasion for her interview is the publication, on Tuesday, of her book I’m Glad My Mother’s Dead from Simon & Schuster.
In the book, McCurdy details her tumultuous relationship with, and abuse by, her mother Debra, who died in 2013.
She also writes about someone she calls “The Creator” in relation to her time on the Nick shows. She says he was “mean-spirited, controlling, and terrifying” and prone to make “grown men and women cry with his insults and degradation.”
While she does not identify that person by name, she tells the Post that “it’s important to talk about. It was so commonplace, his behavior, and it was so accepted because everyone was scared of losing their job. I don’t blame any of them. I get it. But it was really unfortunate; everything that happened in a children’s television series environment. It really seems like there’s not much of a moral compass there.”
Per the Post, McCurdy alleges the Creator crossed boundaries with things like initiating an unsolicited shoulder massage and trying to get her to drink alcohol when she was 18.
After allegations were made, McCurdy writes that the man was sequestered in a “cave-like room to the side of the sound stage, surrounded by piles of cold cuts, his favorite snack, and Kids’ Choice Awards blimps, his most cherished life accomplishment.”
The Hamden Journal reached out to Nickelodeon and representatives for Schneider and will add any comment received.
The showrunner, who was given Nickelodeon’s first Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Kids’ Choice Awards, spoke with the New York Times in 2021 when the iCarly reboot — which does not include McCurdy — debuted on Paramount+.
Schneider told the Times he never acted inappropriately toward co-workers.
“I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t have the long-term friendships and continued loyalty from so many reputable people if I’d mistreated my actors of any age, especially minors,” he told the newspaper.
The piece indicated that an investigation by Nickelodeon parent ViacomCBS found no evidence of sexual misconduct by Schneider. The probe did, however, indicate Schneider could be verbally abusive toward co-workers.
Schneider said that any idea that he was “difficult” might be due to his “high standards.”
He told the Times, “I’m very willing to defend creative things that I believe in.”
When Sam & Cat ended after one season in 2014, McCurdy has said there was talk of a $300,000 “thank-you gift” from Nickelodeon if she agreed to never talk publicly about her experiences at the network, specifically in relation to the behavior of “The Creator.”
“This feels to me like hush money,” McCurdy writes of her thinking at the time, saying she immediately dismissed the idea of taking any such deal.
“The way I see it now is, that decision came from self-righteousness,” she writes. “Should I have taken that money? I’m glad I didn’t because I’m able to talk about it, and I don’t have to have that secret haunt me.”
Nickelodeon and Schneider parted ways in 2018 after his contract was up.