Jennette McCurdy Says Nickelodeon Offered $300,000 in ‘Hush Money’ After ‘Sam and Cat’
Actress Jennette McCurdy claims she was once offered $300,000 in “hush money” to ensure that she would not publicly discuss her time at Nickelodeon or experiences with a man she worked with, referred to as “The Creator,” in a new excerpt from her upcoming memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died (via Vanity Fair).
McCurdy was a prominent figure on Nickelodeon during the late-2000s and early 2010s, first starring on iCarly, and then reprising her role in a short-lived spin-off called Sam and Cat that co-starred Ariana Grande. The new excerpt from I’m Glad My Mom Died includes scenes from a dinner McCurdy had with The Creator while the Sam and Cat spin-off was being worked out, and later, a scene from the show’s final days, after The Creator had been accused of misconduct.
The excerpt ends with a relieved McCurdy learning that Sam and Cat had been canceled after just one season. On a call with her various lawyers, managers, and agents, McCurdy says her team told her Nickelodeon was also offering her $300,000, of which one of her managers allegedly said, “They’re giving you three hundred thousand dollars, and the only thing they want you to do is never talk publicly about your experience at Nickelodeon.” Following this quote, McCurdy writes, “Specifically related to The Creator.”
McCurdy says she immediately turned down the “hush money” offer, though she later admits she second-guessed her decision. Still, she pointedly writes, “Nickelodeon is offering me three hundred thousand dollars in hush money to not talk publicly about my experience on the show? My personal experience of The Creator’s abuse? This is a network with shows made for children. Shouldn’t they have some sort of moral compass? Shouldn’t they at least try to report to some sort of ethical standard?”
A representative for Nickelodeon did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
Elsewhere in the excerpt, McCurdy details an uncomfortable dinner she had with The Creator before the start of Sam and Cat. She claims during the dinner that The Creator cajoled her into drinking some alcohol when she was still 18 and later “place[d] a hand on my knee.” She then says The Creator, thinking McCurdy was cold, took his coat off, placed it around her, began patting her shoulders, and then massaging her. “I want to say something, to tell him to stop, but I’m so scared of offending him,” McCurdy writes.
In the part of the excerpt covering her time on Sam and Cat, McCurdy writes honestly about grappling with the death of her mother in 2013, her struggles with bulimia, falling out of love with acting, and the fear that her time on Nickelodeon will pigeonhole her for the rest of her career. She also recalls the fallout on set after The Creator got in trouble “for accusations of his emotional abuse,” adding, “I feel like it’s been a long time coming, and should have happened a lot sooner.”
According to McCurdy, part of The Creator’s punishment was that he was no longer allowed to be on set with any of the actors. “I appreciate the amount of trouble he’s gotten in. It wasn’t just a slap on the wrist sort of thing,” she writes, adding, “The Creator sits in a small cave-like room off to the side of the soundstage, surrounded by piles of cold cuts, his favorite snack, and Kids’ Choice Awards, his most cherished life accomplishment.”
McCurdy never explicitly identifies The Creator in the excerpt. Both iCarly and Sam and Cat were created by Dan Schneider, who helmed several successful Nickelodeon shows. Schneider and Nickelodeon parted ways in 2018 after an investigation found that he could be verbally abusive; there was no evidence of sexual misconduct, but some said Schneider could make people feel uncomfortable, claiming he asked employees for massages and texted child actors outside of work hours. In a 2021 interview with The New York Times, Schneider denied acting inappropriately with people he worked with. A rep for Schneider did not return Rolling Stone’s request for comment regarding the I’m Glad My Mom Died excerpt.