Nickelodeon allegedly tried to pay Jennette McCurdy $300,000 in hush money
The network offered her the sum as long as she never spoke about her experiences on set.
If there’s one thing America loves, it’s a Hollywood tell-all memoir — and it seems we’re getting a doozy with the arrival of the acerbically-titled I’m Glad My Mom Died from Jennette McCurdy. An excerpt has been published in Vanity Fair ahead of its Aug. 9 release date, and if it’s a taste of what the full book will offer, the actress is spilling tea about her days at Nickelodeon. The star played the blonde prankster Sam Puckett for six seasons on iCarly, before getting her own one-season spinoff, Sam and Cat, which co-starred Ariana Grande. And while McCurdy was a network darling and fan favorite throughout the 2010s, it seems her time there was much more fraught than the laugh tracks would have you believe.
In the excerpt, McCurdy paints a grim portrait of a neurotic, obsessive, and emotionally abusive character she only refers to as “the creator.” (Twitter is now speculating that she’s referencing iCarly creator, Dan Schneider.) Her relationship to this man evolves as she rises through the ranks of Nickelodeon talent and is given her own show. He uses his power to make or break as a way to manipulate his young stars into going along with his behavior — and McCurdy alleges that this included coercing her to drink alcohol while underage, giving her unwanted massages, and coaxing kind, affectionate responses from her in return. By the end of the one season of her spinoff show, the creator was finally in trouble with the network for his behavior and no longer allowed to interact with actors on set. McCurdy was so unhappy that she welcomed the news that her show had been canceled. By the end of her time at the network, McCurdy was suffering from overwhelming bulimia and struggling with alcohol dependency.
Perhaps most shocking of all to be revealed in the excerpted pages though is that Nickelodeon allegedly tried to cover it all up. McCurdy recalls a tense phone call with her team where they tried to excitedly tell her that the network was gifting her $300,000 in exit money for canceling the show. McCurdy intuited that there was a catch, and she eventually needled the information out of her agents and managers — the money would have come with the requirement that McCurdy never speak of her experiences at Nickelodeon. She refused, and it appears that she’ll make much more with a best-selling memoir than she would have with hush money. Nickelodeon has not yet responded to Mic’s requests for comment.