Jennette McCurdy, 30, first gained popularity on the 2007 Nickelodeon sitcom "iCarly" and its 2013 spin-off "Sam & Cat." However, her fame came at a huge price – suffering repeated sexual abuse at the hands of entertainment industry bigwigs.
"My whole childhood and adolescence were very exploited," McCurdy told the New York Times in an interview. "There were cases where people had the best intentions and maybe didn't know what they were doing, and also cases where they did – they knew exactly what they were doing."
The former "iCarly" and "Sam & Cat" star elaborated on these claims in her memoir titled "I'm Glad My Mom Died." McCurdy's memoir, published on Aug. 9, elaborated on her toxic relationship with her mother and her tumultuous time on the children's network.
According to McCurdy, she auditioned for acting roles at the young age of six as her controlling mother "shepherded" her into entertainment. She believed she owed her loyalty to her mother, who allegedly told the young actress: "Everyone wants what you have." McCurdy pointed out that her mother never told her that the sexual abuse she experienced "was the price of showbiz success."
After "iCarly" ended in 2012, Nickelodeon executives promised McCurdy a spinoff series where she would be the lead character. But the channel instead starred her in "Sam & Cat" alongside pop singer Ariana Grande. The spinoff ran for more than a year before its cancellation in 2014.
McCurdy alleged that the network discouraged her from exploring other career opportunities outside the show – but did not impose the same restrictions on Grande.
"What finally undid me was when Ariana came whistle-toning in with excitement because she had spent the previous evening playing charades at Tom Hanks' house," she stated. "That was the moment I broke."
The former child actress recounted several embarrassing moments during her time at Nickelodeon, including one where she was asked to be "photographed in a bikini during a wardrobe fitting." When McCurdy told her mother about this, she remarked that her daughter ought to grin and bear it.
In addition, she also mentioned how an intimidating figure called "The Creator" encouraged her to drink alcohol and pressured her to massage him. While McCurdy did not name "The Creator" in her memoir, it is implied that this personality was Dan Schneider – who created "iCarly" and "Sam & Cat." Schneider faced an investigation before he left Nickelodeon in 2018, but not before facing consequences for his behavior as noted by McCurdy.
In spite of this, Nickelodeon offered McCurdy $300,000 – which the network dubbed as a "thank-you gift" – to keep her experiences private. She, however, refused the "hush money." (Related: Hollywood tried to bury documentary about pedophilia in the film industry.)
In an excerpt from her memoir published by Vanity Fair, McCurdy wrote: "Nickelodeon is offering me $300,000 in hush money to not talk publicly about my experience on the show [and] 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?"
HollywoodHater.com has more stories about sexual abuse in the entertainment industry.
Watch this "Entertainment Tonight" report regarding a documentary about sexual abuse in Hollywood.
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