Once one of the most popular faces on children’s TV, Jennette McCurdy is a recovering Eating Disorder victim and abuse victim. Who was at the centre of her abuse? None other than Dan Schneider, the creator of some of the most popular shows on Nickleodeon.. What about the Eating Disorders? Well they were, believe it or not, brought about by her own mother.
In her recently released and controversially titled I’m Glad My Mom Died book, Ms McCurdy charts her time working under the infamous Dan Schneider on the hit Nickleodeon shows iCarly and Sam and Cat, as well as going into instense detail over her upbringing and how she was forced into acting by her late mother.
McCurdy, who played Sam, the wisecracking sidekick of the titular character Carly, tells how she felt uncomfortable around The Creator Schneider. She also tells how her teen co-star Miranda Cosgrove left her a gift basket on her first day on set which gave her that warm fuzzy feeling because she
couldn’t believe a fellow child actor would be so nice to me. There’s usually such competition between child actors.
Dan Schneider has been at the centre of a massive storm of former and current child stars coming forward to expose him for his inappropriate behaviour as well as more well known rumous surrounding Amanda Bynes and Ariana Grande. McCurdy is the latest in a string of accusers. Nickleodeon, being a children’s TV platform you would have thought would have protected the children working for them. However, at the end of her time working with Nickleodeon, the company offered McCurdy $300,000 if she
agrees to never talk publicly about your time with Nickleodeon, specifically in relation to The Creator
Without giving it a second thought, the young actress turned the fortune down. This begs the question, just how many actors were offered this sum and how many accepted?
McCurdy was made to feel uncomfortable at the hands of Schneider. She can be seen to be visibly shaken by his presence on set and then there was the occasion she outlined in her book. He tried to get her to drink underage:
Come on, he said. No one’s looking. You’re fine. The victorious kids get drunk all the time. The iCarly kids are so wholesome. We need to give you guys a little edge.
Following on from having managed to persuade her to have her first ever drink, he proceeded to take advantage
He put his hands on my knee. You’re cold, he said. here take my jacket. He takes his coat off and drapes it around me. He pats my shoulder and the pats turn into a massage. You’re so tense, he said. My shoulders do have a lot of knots in them but I don’t want The Creator to be the one rubbing them out. I wanna say something, to tell him to stop, but I’m so scared of offending him.
Notwithstanding the abuse McCurdy suffered at the hands of someone Nickleodeon put her in the care of, they also were guilty of missing so many signs of home abuse and, at times even encouraging it. McCurdy spent most of her time on set in a state of anorexia which was either ignored by Schneider or abused by him as he turned her character Sam Puckett into a binge eating parody. It is suspected he did this to poke fun at her known eating problems.
Having been pushed into an acting career at just six years of age, her mother made sure she had the best coaching. She was told how to act, how to sit, how to smile, how to wave, how to behave and just how to be. Her life was set out before she had even started it and there was nothing she could do about it except go along with everything she was told. Afterall, she did want to make her mom happy and proud of her.
Whilst her time on set was bad enough working for Schneider, McCurdy had her mother teaching, coaching and conspiring to get her daughter the best possible role she could. McCurdy, who acquired the role on iCarly at age fourteen, was petite for her age so was perfect for the teen roles she was being asked to play. However, as her body developed, she was growing up.. becoming a woman, not the petite teen she needed to be. Worried, she went to her mother for advice
Well, sweetheart, if you really wanna know how to stay small, there’s this thing you can do. It’s called ‘calorie restriction’
Her mother knew the best way to stay small was to restrict her daughter’s food intake in order to keep her as a child for as long as possible. She taught her how to become anorexic. From then on, McCurdy suffered with her Eating Disorder and would do so for years and years. Anorexia became bulemia later in life.
As well as one of the worst forms of abuse to inflict on her child, McCurdy’s mother abused her in other invasive ways. She gave her daughter a regular shower until the age of 17, as well as co-showering with her older brother when she was just a young child, coupled with giving her regular breast and vaginal exams.
McCurdy suffered in silence until her mother passed away from cancer latterly when she was working at Nickleodeon. She was left lost. She had always relied on her mother to help her in her career. Everything she ever did was for her.. even her entire acting career. She went through the motions for a while. Without her mother’s motivation to help her with her continual anorexia, she turned to bulemia instead. Unable to starve herself, but at the same time hating how she felt after binging, it was the natural progression for her.
It would be a while before she sought help. It was a while before she knew and understood that what she went through was abuse.. by her own mother.