Former Zoey 101 star Alexa Nikolas says Nickelodeon hasn’t apologized to her
She's been speaking out about her experiences as a child actor.
Alexa Nikolas is getting vulnerable. The actress, who starred on Nickelodeon’s hit show Zoey 101 from 2005-2006, opened up to fellow child star Christy Carlson Romano on the Even Stevens star’s Vulnerable podcast.
Nikolas, who was barely a teen when she landed the role of high school student Nicole Bristowe on Zoey 101, acted opposite Jamie Lynn Spears, who played the titular role. Nikolas told Romano that during filming, she and Spears accused one another of bullying, but Nickelodeon allegedly didn’t help resolve the issue. Instead of a mediated discussion with a neutral adult present in the room, Nikolas said she met with Jamie Lynn and her older sister, Britney Spears, who proceeded to yell at Nikolas. “It wasn’t OK, because I was a 12, 13-year-old,” she said to Romano.
Nikolas doesn’t blame the elder Spears, though, especially knowing what she knows now about Britney’s emotionally manipulative conservatorship. “In retrospect, knowing the dynamic that was in place for her, I think … oh my god, poor Britney,” she said.
Looking back, Nikolas blames the network. "Britney is an amazing person. She has apologized to me personally,” she told Romano. “Actually, Britney Spears apologized, but Nickelodeon hasn't. Isn't that funny? Yeah, Britney Spears apologized, and not Nickelodeon."
This isn’t the first time a former child star has spoken out about the dark side of Nickelodeon. Former iCarly star Jennette McCurdy detailed a few alleged instances involving TV creator Dan Schneider in her memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, released in August 2022. In the book, McCurdy recounted how “The Creator,” a moniker fans believe was given to Schneider, yelled at her to “move [her] head” more during a kissing scene — her first one both in real life and on-camera — at 14. McCurdy also claimed Schneider, who parted ways with the network in 2018 following verbal abuse allegations, pressured her to drink at 18.
And earlier this year, former Disney Channel star Cole Sprouse opened up about his own “trauma” in an interview with The New York Times, while also noting that the female stars on the channel “were so heavily sexualized” at very young ages.
More recently, Nikolas echoed McCurdy’s statements during an conversation with Victoria Garrick on the Real Pod podcast: “The thing with Dan Schneider is, I don’t know what’s up with him, but he put children in vulnerable positions that he legit wrote himself, and didn’t seem to have the care to say that this looks that way, or maybe it could look that way, and I want to make sure that they can’t be seen that way,” she said. In the same interview, Nikolas said Schneider would regularly sit in on wardrobe fittings and ask the stylist if he could keep Polaroids taken of the child actors during said fittings.
Nikolas has been candid about her experiences as a working child actor in hopes it will shed light on the matter, lead to legislative action “to end the cycles of abuse that permeate nearly every facet of society,” and help others feel less alone. This year, Nikolas launched Eat Predators, a survivors-led movement that aims to put an end to abuse in the entertainment industry. Representatives for Nickelodeon and Britney Spears have not yet responded to Mic’s requests for comment.