Alexa Nikolas is speaking out again about allegedly inappropriate behavior by Zoey 101 creator Dan Schneider.
Nikolas portrayed high school student Nicole Bristowe on the first two seasons of the Nickelodeon comedy, which starred Jamie Lynn Spears as the titular character. In an interview with Victoria Garrick on the Real Pod podcast, Nikolas opened up about her bad experiences on set with Schneider, the prolific children’s TV creator who parted ways with Nickelodeon in 2018. One recurring situation that made her feel uncomfortable, Nikolas said, was Schneider being routinely present during her wardrobe fittings.
“Whenever I had wardrobe fittings, [Schneider] always had to be in them,” Nikolas alleged. “Thank God there was a curtain, but he was literally on a chair right outside of the curtain. I had to wear very short skirts. Something that [in] the interviews that I’ve done that I haven't mentioned yet was that I had to wear biker shorts under my skirts, and they had to cut the biker shorts because the skirts were too short. … I was constantly having to roll down these biker shorts.”
Nikolas said that Schneider would then ask the wardrobe artist if he could “have the Polaroids.” The actress learned later on in her TV career that creators did not always go to these kinds of fittings and questioned why Schneider felt the need to.
Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to a representative for Schneider but did not immediately hear back.
Nikolas is the founder of Eat Predators, a survivor-led movement that wants to make the music industry safe from harassment and assault. In August, Eat Predators protested outside of the Nickelodeon building, where Nikolas stated that the company did not “protect” the network’s child stars from predators.
Schneider, who has a long list of TV shows on his resume including The Amanda Show, Victorious, iCarly, and the iCarly spin-off Sam and Cat, has been accused for years of writing questionable material into his shows, both by viewers rediscovering old scenes on social media and actors like Nikolas and Victorious star Daniella Monet. In August 2022, an Insider article quoted Nikolas as saying that Schneider had framed a shot of Spears with “goo” on her face, likening it to a pornographic “money shot.” Monet said in the same article that she found the wardrobes worn on the show to be “sexualized.”
When Garrick asked Nikolas on the podcast about those kinds of scenes, Nikolas replied, “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.”
In a New York Times article published in June 2021, Schneider denied that he ever intentionally put inappropriate material into his shows, calling the comedy “innocent.”
Video: Dan Schneider and Nickelodeon dissolved business relationship in 2018
Nikolas told Garrick that a fan had once sent her videos from Schneider’s shows, which were allegedly posted on child pornography websites. Nikolas said she isn’t sure what Schneider’s intention was with those kinds of scenes, but added, “If you are working with children, you can’t be negligent about those things.”
“You have to be super hyper aware and conscious of the way that you’re portraying children, and Dan Schneider never really seemed to care about how he was portraying children,” Nikolas, who is now a mother, said. “He definitely didn't care about the you know, his off-camera role either or how he treated someone like myself, and then in front of camera — it seems very exploitative. … He likes to say it’s childish, that he was being, you know, humorous in a childlike way, but I don’t believe that fully. I think that was just an excuse for him. I’ll never know because we can't be inside of Dan Schneider’s brain, but as a mom, when I looked at your footage, you can't unsee it.”
Allegations against Schneider resurfaced earlier this year with the release of iCarly star Jennette McCurdy’s memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died. McCurdy, who refers to the iCarly producer as “The Creator” and never uses his name, stated that he subjected her to unwanted massages, photographed her in a bathing suit and pressured her to drink alcohol.
Schneider did not personally respond to requests for comment. Russell Hicks, Former President of Content and Production at Nickelodeon, shared a statement regarding the allegations against the producer.
"Dan Schneider is one of the most prolific producers of hit television in the kids and family entertainment business. Dan’s shows transcend children's television and are staples on many streaming platforms today, and are enjoyed by both kids and their parents.
"Dan cared about the kids on his shows even when sometimes their own families unfortunately did not. He was the shoulder they cried on when something happened to them. He understood what they were going through. Dan was like the great high school counselor you could always turn to for help and guidance. And he was their biggest champion.
"What people seem to be forgetting is the fact that the network has a talent management department that is keeping tabs on everything that is happening and going to every event these kids go to. Television is a business and like any other business there are HR people and accountants and workplace rules that have to be followed. Nickelodeon’s reputation as the best in kids’ television required that nothing went on without the company knowing. There is a standards and practices group that reads every script and programming executives looking at every episode. Add to that everyday on every set, were the parents and caregivers and their friends watching every single frame of footage and listening to every joke. They had a billion dollar brand to protect. Every single thing that Dan ever did on any of his shows was carefully scrutinized and approved by executives at Nickelodeon."