Pop Culture

Drake Bell says he was sexually abused as a Nickelodeon child star  – National

As part of a new documentary project, former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell has publicly claimed to be a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of ex-dialogue coach and convicted sex offender Brian Peck.

The upcoming, four-part documentary series Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, created by Investigation Discovery, will see Bell discuss his allegations against Peck, who was convicted of child molestation in 2004.

The sexual abuse allegedly occurred when Bell, now 37, was 15 years old.

A press release from Investigation Discovery confirmed that the series will be the “first time” Bell is publicly recounting “the story of the abuse he suffered at the hands of Brian Peck.”

Though the child in Peck’s criminal case was an unnamed minor, Investigation Discovery said Peck, 63, was convicted for his crimes against Bell.

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In a clip for the docuseries released Tuesday, past Nickelodeon cast and crew members discussed learning of Peck’s crimes. When it’s revealed that the victim was a child actor on one of Nickelodeon’s shows, Bell appears and sits in a chair with a sigh.

In August 2003, Peck was arrested on more than a dozen charges related to the sexual abuse of unnamed minor, Insider reported. He pleaded no contest to performing a lewd act with a 14- or 15-year-old and to oral copulation with a minor under 16.

He served 16 months in prison and was made to register as a sex offender. He is believed to be currently residing in Los Angeles.

The upcoming TV series will focus on shows created by Dan Schneider, the since-disgraced television producer who created a number of Nickelodeon’s most popular series, including iCarly, Zoey 101 and Victorious. Several former child stars, namely Jennette McCurdy, have since come forward to allege mistreatment and a hostile work environment at the hands of Schneider.

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Schneider left Nickelodeon in 2018.

Bell was one of the most recognized faces at Nickelodeon in the early 2000s, thanks to the success of popular children’s shows like Drake & Josh and The Amanda Show. Both shows were produced by Schneider.

In recent years, Bell has widely fallen from grace amid accusations of partner abuse (which he denied), substance abuse issues and being reported missing in 2023. In 2021, Bell was ordered to serve two years of probation and perform 200 hours of community service after he pleaded no contest to attempted child endangerment and sending inappropriate messages to a 15-year-old girl.

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Boy Meets World stars defended Brian Peck

Actors Rider Strong, Will Friedle and Danielle Fishel, all of whom starred on the popular ’90s TV show Boy Meets World, said they were asked to participate in the documentary.

The group declined the invitation in favour of discussing their interactions with Peck on their podcast, Pod Meets World

Friedle and Strong said they’d both developed a strong friendship with Peck (who was in his late 30s at the time) after he was a guest star on Boy Meets World. The actors said Peck told them he was being victimized by the minor making the claims against him.

Believing Peck, both Friedle and Strong wrote supportive character letters to the judge and showed up in court to support Peck.

Friedle recalled the victim’s mother turning to Peck in the court gallery to say, “Look at all the famous people you brought with you. And it doesn’t change what you did to my kid.”

“I just sat there wanting to die,” Friedle said. “It was like, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ It was horrifying all the way around.”

“We’re sitting in that courtroom on the wrong side of everything,” Friedle said. “There’s an actual victim here. And he turned us against the victim to where now we’re on his team.”

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Friedle said he feels “ever-loving shame” for supporting Peck.

UN reports ‘widespread sexual abuse of children in the entertainment industry’

The Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV comes at a time when the United Nations has called for an end to the sexual abuse of children within the entertainment industry.

On Tuesday, the international organization released a report that claimed child actors “are exposed to sexualized, violent and aggressive environments that are unsafe for their integral development and in which they can be exposed to the consumption of addictive substances.”

Mama Fatima Singhateh, the UN special rapporteur on sale and sexual exploitation of children, said many instances of sexual abuse in the industry go unreported. This is “mainly due to the prevailing power dynamics, harmful gender norms, fear of retaliation and loss of career opportunities,” she said.

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Grooming, which is a predatory sexual behaviour, is widely accepted in the entertainment industry, the report declared.

The UN has called for “urgent action” to end the abuses, namely a “zero-tolerance policy” for those who exploit or abuse children.

‘Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV’ will air on Investigation Discovery on March 17 and 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Originally Published Here.

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