A network for kids but not for the kids. Nickelodeon is receiving backlash from its former stars who spent their childhood years filming young teen shows and allegedly being abused by their series' creator, Dan Schneider. In fact, Alexa Nikolas labeled Schneider as the "creator of childhood trauma." Nikolas, known for her role on Zoey 101 as Zoey Brooks' best friend, Nicole Bristow, hosted a "Slime Time Live" rally outside of the Nickelodeon headquarters to protest the network's alleged history of child sexual abuse.
"I'm Glad My Mom Died"
Nikolas isn't the first former Nickelodeon star to speak out against the network. In her autobiography, "I'm Glad My Mom Died," Jeanette McCurdy addressed several instances of alleged abuse on set. “Nickelodeon is offering me $300,000 in hush money to not talk publicly about my experience on the show? This is a network with shows made for children. Shouldn’t they have some sort of moral compass?" wrote the former actress. She claimed that she was encouraged to drink alcohol, she was yelled at while filming her first kiss, and given borderline-appropriate messages. The child actors were also allegedly pitted against each other.
The memoir from the former iCarly star received public support from other former Nickelodeon stars including Miranda Cosgrove, Josh Peck, and Victoria Justice. While as multiple former colleagues of Schneider told the Times that they “felt uncomfortable when he frequently asked an employee from the costume department for shoulder and neck massages or texted child actors outside of work hours."
Deny Deny Deny
Schneider, also known as the creator of these hit shows, of course denied all allegations against him. “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 said.
"The creator" left the network in 2018 with $7 million dollars left in his contract for "other opportunities and projects" however, ironically he retreated from the industry entirely after that. New York Times revealed that Nickelodeons parent company, ViacomCBS, investigated Schneider but found no evidence of sexual misconduct. Many employees "viewed him as verbally abusive" though.
Schneider declined to talk to the Times about the investigation but did share, "I took a break to take care of a lot of stuff that I’d let go by the wayside for decades,” Schneider said, pointing out his more than 100-pound weight loss. “Whatever I do next, I want it to outdo what I’ve done in the past."
And, in July 2021 he told the Times, “The comedy was totally innocent. … I never interacted with actors in any way, texting or otherwise, that should make anyone uncomfortable.”
However, we'll let you form your own opinion with this clip of Ariana Grande on one of Schneider's shows.
Alexa Nikolas Protests For Children Safety
Nikolas became known for her role on "Zoey 101" but left the series after season two. On Thursday, she protested outside of Nickelodeon's Burbank headquarters holding a sign that read, "Nickelodeon Didn't Protect Me."
At the protest the actress told TMZ, “I wanna make Nick safe for kids, because in my personal experience working on Zoey 101, I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel like Nickelodeon was protecting me or had my best interests in mind. So after hearing so many different stories from different Nick stars, it just feels like enough is enough.”
Nikolas stated in an Instagram video, "I’m demanding that Nickelodeon starts protecting children and not predators.”
Back in Janaury she also spoke out on Instagram against Jamie Lynn Spears who wrote what Nikolas refers to as "lies" in her "Things I Should've Said" memoir.
“I was pretty surprised to see her lying up a storm in there. I recently thought we were fine after she tried to use me in her Zoey 101 music video to make herself look better after I finally came out about what happened to me while on set/being left out once again during the reunion reboot ploy. I’m guessing the pressure from others made her address the issue. I declined her offer. Why now? But I was happy to get an apology finally. So I forgave her.”
She added, “She never addressed anything that she mentioned in the book to me personally because she knows everything she is saying is a total lie and I would have called her out on that. One on one. It’s sad to see someone not change after all these years. Nothing that she said in her book about me actually happened.”
What are your thoughts on this scandal?