/Jamie Lynn Spears Former Co-Star Says She Created Toxic Set On Zoey 101

Jamie Lynn Spears Former Co-Star Says She Created Toxic Set On Zoey 101

Alexa Nikolas — who played Nicole Bristow on Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101” — is taking her long-fought opportunity to keep speaking out against the abuses she endured as a child star.

Nikolas — who gained wider recognition after coming forward with allegations against Jonah Hill last month after being inspired by Sarah Brady’s “admirable” actions against the “Superbad” star — got candid during an episode with the H3 Podcast Wednesday about why she decided to leave her hit Nickelodeon show after just two seasons. (The show had a four-season run from 2005 to 2008.)

According to Nikolas, a big reason why she left was due to the constant bullying she endured from the show’s star — Jamie Lynn Spears.

“I got put through the wringer on that show, it was a pretty bad three years,” Nikolas said in the podcast. “Jamie Lynn Spears just created a very toxic, unhealthy work environment.”

Later on in the episode, Nikolas went into detail about her experiences with Spears on the show, saying that she is still unclear about “what the conflict was exactly” but that Spears “just didn’t seem to really like me from day one.”

Nikolas describes her personality as “bubbly” and thinks her demeanor didn’t really gel with Spears.

“And she was just very taken aback by my personality, I think, and just kind of gave me the cold shoulder,” Nikolas said. She added that she didn’t take Spears’ behavior towards her “personally” at first, and just figured Spears was shy, or was weary towards new people due to her older sister’s fame.

Alexa Nikolas in 2005, the year she first appeared on “Zoey 101.”
Alexa Nikolas in 2005, the year she first appeared on “Zoey 101.”

Frazer Harrison via Getty Images

Nikolas says that tensions between the two actors “slowly escalated” shortly after they began working together. Spears wouldn’t sit with the rest of the cast during lunch and wouldn’t invite Nikolas to group lunches when Spears had them in her trailer.

“It just started to snowball, basically, and then it became bullying where she would just say harsh things to me like, ‘Why do you smile so much?’ You know like this kid bullying shit basically. But you know, at that time it hurt. When I was a kid.”

Nikolas said that because Spears was the first person on the call sheet, many people who worked on the show bent to her will, and that Spears “created the culture of the set.”

“And her not liking me made everyone else kind of feel like, I think, they had to also engage in that type of behavior,” Nikolas said.

Nikolas said that things got to a boiling point when Spears’ older and very famous sister, Britney Spears, got involved in the drama — and their confrontation led to Nikolas leaving the show.

She said that one day, a talent coordinator named Ian — who was supposed to act as her adult guardian on set when her mother wasn’t around — told her that Britney and Jamie wanted to speak with her in Jamie’s trailer. Nikolas said she looked up to Britney at the time, and was “kind of hopeful” that the conversation would be one where she and Jamie could clear the air and “create some kind of mediation.”

“All I ever wanted was a nice conversation to understand one another,” Nikolas said.

But Nikolas said that she knew that wasn’t going to happen as soon as knocked on Jamie’s trailer and Ian, “fled, just disappeared.”

She said when she entered the trailer, Jamie immediately ran “to the back of the trailer, just like bails on whatever the hell is about to happen.”

She said that she was left alone with a very pregnant Britney, who locked the door of the trailer and began screaming at her.

“I remember she just started yelling at me, telling me that I was bullying her sister, and I wanted to say something. And I just remember my throat just closed. I couldn’t even speak, and I tried, and I just started to cry and hyperventilate,” Nikolas said. “And [Britney] was like, ‘I’m gonna make sure you don’t work again.’”

Britney later confirmed the confrontation happened, and apologized to Nikolas privately and publicly in 2022 on social media. In her apology, Spears said that Jamie lied to her about the situation, and that she “had no idea what was really going on.”

“I do write you this message today because I am sorry for ever hurting your feelings!!!” Spears wrote to Nikolas. “You should tell Nickelodeon to kiss your ass!!!”

Britney Spears and Jamie Lynn Spears backstage during Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards in 2003.
Britney Spears and Jamie Lynn Spears backstage during Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards in 2003.

Frank Micelotta via Getty Images

Despite the later apology, Nikolas said she remembered being devastated in the moment because an “idol” of hers now hated “my guts.”

“And there’s no one there protecting me,” Nikolas pointed out. “Ian bailed on me. My mom doesn’t even know where I am, and it was really, really fucking scary.”

Nikolas said that the moment was so traumatizing that as soon as she left Jamie’s trailer, she “puked.” She said that although she was visibly shaken, no one on set who saw her vomit seemed to care.

Nikolas said she then ran to her trailer, where her mom was, and laid down in “fetal position, just like rocking myself basically just being like, ‘I can’t even explain.’”

A while later, one of the shows’ creators, Dan Schneider — who has been the target of numerous allegations of inappropriate behavior from other child stars — came into her trailer to speak to her.

“And here comes Dan Schneider, with his sunglasses,” Nikolas recalled. “And he looks at me — and I’ll never forget this — he goes, ‘Now what?’”

Nikolas said she interpreted Schneider’s statement to her as him saying that the whole situation was her fault.

Nikolas said that after his comment, her mother told Schneider that Nikolas was not going back to set after the Britney incident. But Schneider needed her for one more scene, and tried to bribe her by giving her a portable DVD player. Nikolas said she and her mother were completely disgusted by the gesture, and refused to keep shooting. Schneider then informed them that Nikolas was contractually obligated to finish a scene.

Nikolas said she eventually went to set and just tried to get through her last ever scene on the show.

“And I remember just kind of looking at all the adults [on set],” Nikolas said. “I remember just looking up at them and just, you know, I didn’t matter that much in that situation.”

Nikolas also pointed out that her cast mates continued to bully her during the filming of the scene, and one actor, Erin Sanders, hit her in the head.

The moment that Sanders hit Nikolas in the head actually made it to the final cut of the episode, and went viral on TikTok. You can watch the clip below.

Nikolas left the show not long after her confrontation with Britney Spears, but said before she left she was reprimanded in a private meeting with Schneider for the situation, which you can check out at the podcast’s 54:55 mark.

Nikolas also explained during her interview why she’s been so vocal recently about the abuses she endured while working in Hollywood.

She said that she’s been trying to “call out” the toxic culture at Nickelodeon since 2019 through her Instagram account, but no one seemed to take notice until Jennette McCurdy published her book, “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” in 2022, which is brimming with allegations against the network.

“When it was a book, all of sudden, people were paying attention,” Nikolas said. “But when it was me, just on my Instagram Live obviously, there was no media that gave an honest fuck.”

She, however, credited McCurdy’s book for giving her even more courage to speak out.

“I was like, ‘OK, enough is enough,’” Nikolas said.

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