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Drake Bell Says He Was Sexually Abused as a Child | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


Former Nickelodeon child star Drake Bell is opening up about the abuse he says he suffered at the hands of his former acting and dialogue coach.

In the Investigation Discovery documentary titled “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV,” the “Drake and Josh” star revealed that he was the unnamed minor in the 2004 sexual assault conviction of Brian Peck.

According to a Los Angeles Police Department release, officers arrested Peck on Aug. 19, 2003. Court records show Peck pleaded no contest to two charges — lewd act upon a child 14 or 15 by a person 10 years older and oral copulation of a person under 16 — and the court found him guilty on both. Peck, now 63, served more than a year in jail and was made to register as a sex offender.

Bell says the abuse took place at Peck’s home over the course of several months after the acting coach cemented himself in Bell’s life.

When reached by NBC News, Nickelodeon said, “Now that Drake Bell has disclosed his identity as the plaintiff in the 2004 case, we are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward.”

How did Brian Peck ‘integrate’ himself in then-teenage Drake Bell’s life?

“I have never told my story publicly,” Bell said. He outlined how Peck joined Nickelodeon’s “All That” as an acting and dialogue coach in the show’s second season and then ingratiated himself into Bell’s life.

The “Drake and Josh” actor said it started out with Peck seemingly like “any other nice coworker.”

“Brian (Peck) and I became really close because we had a lot of the same interests,” he said. “Which, looking back, I think that was probably a little calculated.”

Bell said his father, Joe Bell, was initially his manager and very suspicious after observing Peck on the set of “All That.” In an interview in the documentary, Joe Bell said that he brought his concerns to Nickelodeon but was dismissed.

At the end of the ID film, a black slate screen says that Nickelodeon told producers that the network “investigates all formal complaints as part of our commitment to fostering a safe and professional workplace … We have adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to our own high standards and the expectations of our audience.”

Joe Bell said he went to production and told them he was “very uncomfortable with this guy, Brian Peck, always being around my son.”

“I don’t see anything abnormal, but … I don’t have a good feeling,’” he recalled saying, without naming the person he spoke to. “And she just goes, ‘Oh, well, I don’t know if you knew it or not, but he’s gay. Maybe you’re just homophobic and you just don’t understand that he’s a touchy-feely guy.”

Peck then started driving a wedge between the young actor and his father, Bell says, by falsely convincing the teen that his dad was misappropriating his funds and shouldn’t be his manager.

“I think Brian got a sense that my dad was on the watch. And so he started to really drive a wedge between my dad and me,” Bell said, adding Peck convinced him that his father was “horrible for my career.”

“Coming from someone like Brian (Peck), I was believing it because he’s been in this business for so long and he must know more than us,” he said.

Bell’s parents had been divorced since he was 5, so once his father was out of the picture, Peck had even easier access to him as a teen, the actor said.

“Brian (Peck) really started getting into my mom’s mind and telling her the same things he was telling me,” Bell said. “There was never any mishandling of any funds, but it was like an army against my dad.”

Despite Joe Bell’s warnings to his ex about Peck, the coach was soon driving him to and from auditions. Eventually, Bell started staying the night at Peck’s home.

“Very quickly, Brian (Peck) put himself in the position of what my dad was doing my whole life. My mom didn’t want to drive to LA. She didn’t like driving. So Brian would come and pick me up for auditions,” Bell recalled. “I would end up staying the night because well I lived in Orange County and I would have auditions and then it would be easier to drive me home the next day instead of driving me home and getting me home at midnight or whatever excuse he came up with.”

“He had pretty much worked his way into every aspect of my life,” Bell said.

Following the release of the docuseries, Bell said in a follow-up April 7 episode that people reacting to the news shouldn’t blame his mom, adding that their relationship is “incredible.”

“I do feel, there’s a lot of kind of people going after my mom a little bit but if you were in that situation at that time, he was so good at what he was doing, Brian (Peck), he was so calculated,” Bell said. “He knew exactly what to say, how to say it, how to do it, the image to portray, I completely understand how he just pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes. It’s tragic.”

What did Drake Bell say Brian Peck did?

After Peck successfully “integrated” himself into Bell’s life, the actor says, things took a turn for the worse.

“Everything changed with Brian (Peck) one morning… I knew that my life was going to be absolutely, completely different from that point on,” he said.

“I was sleeping on the couch where I would usually sleep and I woke up to him … I opened my eyes, I woke up and he was sexually assaulting me,” Bell said. “And I froze and was in complete shock and had no idea what to do or how to react.”

Bell, then 15, said he didn’t know how to get out of the situation.

“I couldn’t run outside. What, do I call my mom and be like, Hey, this just happened. Can you come pick me up? I’ll just sit here and wait.’ I had no car, I didn’t drive,” he said. “And so it just became this secret that I had held on to.”

According to Bell, the abuse continued for months and while his then-girlfriend’s mother suspected something was amiss and brought him to a therapist, he covered for Peck.

“It just got worse and worse. And worse. And worse,” he said. “And I was just trapped. I didn’t — I had no way out.”

He said the abuse was “extensive and it got pretty brutal.” Bell struggled to describe it, responding to the producer’s questioning by saying she should “think of the worst stuff that someone could do to somebody as a sexual assault? And that’ll answer your question.”

He went on to say that one day, he was on the phone with his mother and “just exploded.”

“I have no idea what provoked it. I have no idea what happened. But I just screamed into the phone everything that had been happening to me,” he recalled.

Bell later explained on an April 11 episode of the “Luminosity” podcast that he began to consider that other children might be experiencing the same abuse, which played a part in his decision to tell his mother.

“I was so concerned at his behavior with other people, with other young kids like me, that I couldn’t imagine it,” he said. “And I know that it wouldn’t be, but I felt that in a certain way, it would be almost on my shoulders if something happened that could’ve been prevented had I said something sooner. So I was really being tortured with that thought process.”

After detailing his experience to his mother, she called the police and Peck was arrested.

Peck did not respond to TODAY.com’s request for comment.

What happened to Nickelodeon’s Dan Schneider?

Dan Schneider was the man behind many of Nickelodeon’s hit shows in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including “Drake and Josh.”

He is credited as a writer on the network’s shows “Kenan & Kel” and “All That.” He took over as showrunner for the latter in the show’s third season. In addition to “Drake and Josh,” Schneider created several hits for the children’s network: “The Amanda Show,” “Zoey 101,” “iCarly,” and “Victorious.”

Much of the ID documentary is spent scrutinizing the “toxic environment” Schneider allegedly created on the set of his shows and quotes former cast members. However, Bell says Schneider was the only person from Nickelodeon’s top brass who reached out to him following Peck’s arrest. Schneider was the showrunner of “Drake and Josh” at the time.

Schneider came under fire online during the Me Too movement and following an August 2022 Insider investigation into his on-set behavior.

The Associated Press reported Schneider parted ways with Nickelodeon in 2018.

In a statement at the end of the ID documentary, Schneider said the investigation into his behavior on set was not an accurate description of why he and Nickelodeon parted ways. 

“Everything that happened on the shows I ran was carefully scrutinized by dozens of involved adults,” he said in a statement to the documentary. “All stories, dialogue, costumes, and makeup were fully approved by network executives on two coasts. A standards and practices group read and ultimately approved every script, and programming executives reviewed and approved all episodes. In addition, every day on every set, there were always parents and caregivers and their friends watching us rehearse and film.”

When reached for comment by NBC News, Nickelodeon said: “Though we cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviors from productions decades ago, Nickelodeon as a matter of policy investigates all formal complaints as part of our commitment to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct. Our highest priorities are the well-being and best interests not just of our employees, casts and crew, but of all children, and we have adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to our own high standards and the expectations of our audience.”

A spokesperson for Schneider told NBC News that he was the “biggest champion” for Nickelodeon’s child actors.

“Dan has said himself that he was a tough boss to work for and, if he could do things over again, he would act differently,” the spokesperson said. “But let’s be clear, when Dan departed Nickelodeon, a full investigation was done and again, all that was found is that he was a challenging, tough and demanding person to work for and with, nothing else.”

How to watch ‘Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV’

The documentary series was produced by Maxine Productions and Sony Pictures Television — Nonfiction, in association with Business Insider. It explores the “toxic underpinnings of iconic children’s television shows created by Dan Schneider in the ‘90s and early 2000s.”

The documentary initially aired on March 17 and March 18, from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT on Investigation Discovery. A fifth, bonus episode announced after the documentary’s initial release aired April 7.

“Quiet on Set” is available to stream on Max.

Max plans generally start at $9.99 a month with ads and run up to $19.99 a month for the “ultimate” ad-free version.

CORRECTION (March 14, 2024, at 2:30 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Drake Bell’s father as Robert Bell. His name is Joe Bell and this article has been updated to reflect that correction.



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