Zoe 101 alum Alexa Nikolas is the latest ex-Nickelodeon star to speak out against the network’s treatment of child stars.
Nikolas starred as Nicole Bristow in the first two seasons of Nickelodeon’s mid-2000s series Zoe 101. Her character was the best friend and roommate of the show’s main character, Zoey Brooks, played by Jamie Lynn Spears. Due to Nikolas’ personal issues with Spears, she left the show after Season 2 aired. Nikolas’ issues with Spears weren’t the only issue she had on set. Per TMZ, Nikolas led a protest on Aug. 25 to criticize Nickelodeon for its treatment of child stars.
Nikolas, along with several other protesters, stood outside Nickelodeon’s corporate headquarters in Burbank with signs reading “Eat Predators.” Another panel featured a photo of the former Nickelodeon showrunner and Zoe 101 creator Dan Schneider, with the caption “The Creator of Childhood Trauma”. Schneider, who is also credited with creating iCarly, left the network in 2018 after allegations of inappropriate behavior came to light amid the #MeToo movement. ViacomCBS, now known as Paramount, investigated Schneider before he left but found no evidence of misconduct other than verbal abuse of co-workers.
Nikolas confirmed Schneider’s misconduct at the protest. “I didn’t feel safe with Dan Schneider while I was working at Nickelodeon,” she said. The Zoe 101 alum said that all of Nickelodeon’s child stars deserve an apology from the network for their traumatic experiences. Nikolas also called on Nickelodeon to drop its NDAs, or nondisclosure agreements, which prevent young actors from getting the help they need.
Nikolas isn’t the only Nickelodeon alum to shed light on the company’s alleged shortcomings in protecting its child stars. Jennette McCurdy, who played Sam Puckett in iCarlydiscussed his personal issues with the network in his recently published memoir, I’m glad my mother is dead, which was released on August 9. The tell-all book revealed that the anonymous entity, whom McCurdy dubbed “The Creator”, allegedly forced her to drink alcohol when she was 18. According to McCurdy, “The Creator” also asked the actor to pose for bikini photos, supposedly for a wardrobe fitting.
McCurdy alleged that he was offered $300,000 to keep his experiences quiet. The former child star retired from acting in 2021 and has had success with it empty inside podcast. iCarly Star Miranda Cosgrove has begged her former co-star to reprise her role in the reboot of the show, which premiered on Paramount+ in 2021. However, McCurdy turned down the opportunity, stating in her memoir that she had told Cosgrove “”there are more important things than money. And my sanity and happiness fall into that category. “”Most of the original cast members returned for the iCarly revival, and the series addressed Sam’s absence from the storyline.
Nickelodeon has not responded to McCurdy’s or Nikolas’ allegations.