Advertisement

Everything Nickelodeon Stars Have Said About the Alleged 'Toxic Environment' on Set

Drake Bell, Jennette McCurdy, Alexa Nikolas and more former child stars have been outspoken about their time on popular kids shows

<p>Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic ; Steve Granitz/WireImage ; Neilson Barnard/Getty</p> Jennette McCurdy arrives at Nickelodeon

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic ; Steve Granitz/WireImage ; Neilson Barnard/Getty

Jennette McCurdy arrives at Nickelodeon's 26th Annual Kids' Choice Awards on March 23, 2013. ; Drake Bell arrives at Nickelodeon's 24th Annual Kids' Choice Awards on April 2, 2011. ; Daniella Monet attends Nickelodeon's 2018 Kids' Choice Awards on March 24, 2018.

Nickelodeon child stars from Drake Bell to Jennette McCurdy have spoken out about their negative experiences with the network.

A March 2024 documentary that aired on ID, Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, went inside the alleged “toxic environment,” per a crew source, of the Nickelodeon sets. The four-part program — which featured interviews with former cast members, writers and crew from popular series like All That, The Amanda Show, Zoey 101, iCarly, Sam & Cat, Victorious and the game show Double Dare — premiered on March 17 and 18.

Specifically, the documentary looks into the claims against showrunner Dan Schneider, who was responsible for many of their programs including All That and iCarly. In 2018, Nickelodeon cut ties with Schneider amid reports that he engaged in abusive behavior toward the cast and crew of his shows and speculation about tweets he posted showing off the feet of the young actresses he worked with, Deadline reported at the time.

Schneider addressed the controversy in a July 2021 interview with The New York Times, calling the allegations “ridiculous” and said kids find feet “goofy and funny.”

“The comedy was totally innocent,” he said.

After the documentary premiered, Schneider spoke about the allegations in a YouTube video BooG!e, who played T-Bo on iCarly.

“Facing my past behaviors, some of which are embarrassing and that I regret," the former Nickelodeon producer said. "I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology.”

However, the documentary isn’t the first time cast members of the Dan Schneider-run shows have spoken up. iCarly alum McCurdy wrote in her memoir about how she was exploited as a child actress by the network and Zoey 101 alum Alexa Nikolas frequently talks about how she didn’t feel “protected” from “predators.

Here’s everything the former stars of Nickelodeon shows have said about their time working on the network.

Jennette McCurdy said she was “exploited her whole childhood”

<p>Nickelodeon ; Taylor Hill/WireImage</p> Jennette McCurdy as Sam Puckett in 'iCarly'. ; Jennette McCurdy attends the 2022 Time 100 Next on October 25, 2022.

Nickelodeon ; Taylor Hill/WireImage

Jennette McCurdy as Sam Puckett in 'iCarly'. ; Jennette McCurdy attends the 2022 Time 100 Next on October 25, 2022.

In her 2022 memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died, the iCarly and Sam & Cat alum wrote about how she felt “exploited” as a teen on the sets of both shows, which were run by Schneider. McCurdy never names Schneider in her book, however, simply referring to the person making demands of her as “The Creator.”

In one chapter, McCurdy described a time when The Creator asked her to wear a bikini instead of her preferred one-piece suit, which she feared made her look like a “sexual being.”

She also alleged that The Creator pressured her into drinking alcohol while she was still underage, comparing her cast to the “Victorious kids” who allegedly “got drunk all the time.”

McCurdy said that The Creator also forced her to have her first kiss on-screen with Nathan Kress and then criticized her for it, calling the kiss “not ideal but FINE.”

After Sam & Cat wrapped in 2013, McCurdy alleged that she was offered $300,000 to "never talk publicly about your experience at Nickelodeon,” specifically about The Creator. However, she said she turned it down because she did not want to be bribed to be silent.

"This is a network with shows made for children," she wrote in her book. "Shouldn't they have some sort of moral compass? Shouldn't they at least try to report to some sort of ethical standard?"

Drake Bell alleged a dialogue coach sexually abused him

<p>Nickelodeon ; Michael Tran/Getty</p> Drake Bell as Drake Parker in 'Drake & Josh'. ; Drake Bell attends the Thirst Project's Inaugural Legacy Summit on July 20, 2019.

Nickelodeon ; Michael Tran/Getty

Drake Bell as Drake Parker in 'Drake & Josh'. ; Drake Bell attends the Thirst Project's Inaugural Legacy Summit on July 20, 2019.

In a preview shared ahead of the ID documentary’s release, Bell, one of the title stars of Drake & Josh, sits down in front of the camera to tell his side of the story about “the abuse he suffered at the hands of Brian Peck, his former dialogue coach who was convicted in 2004 for his crimes against Drake and ordered to register as a sex offender,” per a Warner Bros. Discovery press release shared with PEOPLE.

An August 2003 press release shared by the Los Angeles Police Department stated that Peck was arrested by LAPD’s Sexually Exploited Child Unit, Juvenile Division at his Valley Glen residence for lewd acts with a child. The release added that the incidents had taken place two years before the arrest was made, and that the victim was someone Peck had been “coaching.”

LAPD began investigating Peck after “the minor’s family reported that Peck had molested the child over a six-month period.” Bell was 15 at the time. Peck was ultimately registered as a sex offender and sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Bell elaborated on the sexual abuse experience in the documentary, sharing that he befriended Peck when he started the second season of The Amanda Show and began going to the dialogue coach's home for acting lessons.

Peck eventually became Bell's manager, despite Bell's father, Joe Bell, expressing concerns that the grown man was spending too much time with his teenage son. Peck would often take Bell on auditions, which could be an hour away from his mother's home, so he would sleep at Peck's house. However, one night, when he was 15, everything changed.

“I was sleeping on the couch where I usually sleep and I woke up to him... I opened my eyes and I woke up and he was…he was sexually assaulting me,” Bell said in the documentary. “And I froze, and was in complete shock and had no idea what to do or how to react.”

“You know anytime I had an audition or anytime I needed to work on dialogue or anything, I somehow ended up back at Brian's house,” he continued. “And it just got worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and I was just trapped. I had no way out. The abuse was extensive and it got pretty brutal.”

In a statement to People, Nickelodeon said, "Now that Drake Bell had disclosed his identity as the plaintiff in the 2004 case, we are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward."

Alexa Nikolas accused Nickelodeon of not “protecting” her

Nickelodeon; Alexa Nikolas/Instagram Alexa Nikolas as Nicole Bristow on 'Zoey 101'; Alexa Nikolas in a video protesting Nickelodeon on her Instagram in August 2022.
Nickelodeon; Alexa Nikolas/Instagram Alexa Nikolas as Nicole Bristow on 'Zoey 101'; Alexa Nikolas in a video protesting Nickelodeon on her Instagram in August 2022.

Nikolas, a Zoey 101 alum who played Nicole Bristow, has been vocal about her criticism of Nickelodeon for failing to “protect” her and her costars when she was a child on the show. In August 2022, she protested outside the network’s headquarters as part of her “Eat Predators” movement, advocating for Nickelodeon to release its child stars from the non-disclosure agreements they were allegedly forced to sign.

She uploaded a 15-minute video to her Instagram at the time detailing her experiences at the channel and what she hoped for the future of their child stars.

"My own personal experience at Nickelodeon — as you can see, it says here that Nickelodeon didn't protect me," she said of the sign she was holding. "I did not feel protected at Nickelodeon as a child, personally. I'm demanding that Nickelodeon starts protecting children and not predators."

During her protest, Nikolas accused a number of executives at Nickelodeon of being “predators” and “enablers,” including one poster that called Schneider “the creator of childhood trauma.”

Related: The 'Zoey 101' Cast: Where Are They Now?

Daniella Monet said she was “sexualized” and made to wear outfits that were “not age-appropriate”

<p>Nickelodeon ; Paul Archuleta/Getty</p> Daniella Monet as Trina Vega in 'Victorious'. ; Daniella Monet visits Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on November 12, 2020.

Nickelodeon ; Paul Archuleta/Getty

Daniella Monet as Trina Vega in 'Victorious'. ; Daniella Monet visits Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on November 12, 2020.

The same month, another Nickelodeon alum, Monet, who starred in Victorious as Trina Vega, told Insider that while much of her time on the show was “very PC, funny, silly, friendly, chill,” there were times “every once in a while” she was made to feel uncomfortable.

Monet specifically referred to a scene during which she had to eat a pickle while applying lip gloss. The actress told Insider that after filming, she expressed concerns to Nickelodeon executives that the scene was too sexual to air. However, the network ran it anyway.

"Do I wish certain things, like, didn't have to be so sexualized?” she told the outlet. “Yeah. A hundred percent."

The report also alleged that Schneider encouraged the actors to wear the “skimpier options” and “whatever was the most revealing.” Monet backed the claim, saying much of what she was told to wear was “not age-appropriate” and clothes she wouldn’t wear as an adult now.

However, Monet added that Schneider wasn’t the only problem — she pointed to the male-dominated writers room as the culprit of the sexualization and noted how Nickelodeon’s department of standards and practices had to also approve everything that aired.

"Every single thing that Dan ever did on any of his shows was carefully scrutinized and approved,” Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon's former president of content and production, said in a statement to Insider.

He added that the department of standards and practices read every script and programming executives watched every episode before it aired, and parents and caregivers were always in the room during filming.

Reps for Monet and Nickelodeon did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment at the time.

Avan Jogia doesn’t “look back” on his Nickelodeon days “fondly”

<p>Nickelodeon ; Rob Kim/Getty</p> Avan Jogia as Beck Oliver in 'Victorious'. ; Avan Jogia attends The Brooklyn Silver Screen Premiere of 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' on November 10, 2022.

Nickelodeon ; Rob Kim/Getty

Avan Jogia as Beck Oliver in 'Victorious'. ; Avan Jogia attends The Brooklyn Silver Screen Premiere of 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' on November 10, 2022.

Another Victorious alum, Joga, who played Beck Oliver during the show’s four-season run, told Teen Vogue in January 2023 that he tries “not to think about that time too much.”

He added that while he didn’t enjoy his time on the show, he tries to keep the nostalgic, happy memories intact for his fans.

"I mean, I don't look back on [Nickelodeon] fondly,” he said. “But I do think it's interesting to see just what it means to people. It's touching, but also it's out of your control.”

Despite his experiences with the network, the actor previously told PEOPLE in 2019 that he reflects positively on the relationships he made with his costars.

"It was like college," he said at the time. "All those people are my loved ones, and we grew up together, and we got to experience L.A. for the first time together, and go to adult stuff. As much as the onscreen stuff is interesting, the behind-the-scenes stuff is really the things I remember the most, my friendships with everyone."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.