Drake Bell says his son inspired him to speak out about abuse in Quiet on Set

Drake Bell says his son inspired him to speak out about abuse in Quiet on Set

Drake Bell has said he was inspired by his three-year-old son to come forward about the sexual abuse he says he suffered at age 15.

The former Nickelodeon star, 37, spoke for the first time about the sexual abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of actor Brian Peck in Investigation Discovery’s docu-series Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, which aired in March.

Sitting down with NBC News’ Kate Snow in a new interview, Bell was asked if his son, whom he shares with his ex-wife Janet Von Schmeling, was the reason he decided to come forward with his story of abuse.

“Yeah,” Bell replied. “As he grows, my hope is that he’ll be able to say, ‘My dad did go through that, and the man that I know today is a hero to me.’”

Bell alleged in the five-part series that he was abused by Peck, who had worked as a dialogue coach on Nickelodeon’s All That and The Amanda Show. Bell starred in the latter show from 1999 to 2002 before going on to take the lead role in his own Nickelodeon series in 2004, Drake & Josh.

“Imagine the worst thing someone could do to someone as sexual assault,” Bell said in the docu-series. “I don’t know how else to put it.”

In August 2003, Peck was arrested on more than a dozen charges related to sexual abuse allegations involving an unnamed minor.

NBC News’ Kate Snow speaks with Drake Bell (NBC NEWS / TODAY)
NBC News’ Kate Snow speaks with Drake Bell (NBC NEWS / TODAY)

In May 2004, Peck pleaded no contest to performing a lewd act with a 14 or 15-year-old and to oral copulation with a minor under 16. Peck was sentenced to 16 months in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender later that year.

At the time, the victim was not publicly identified in the case until Bell came forward in the documentary.

“We are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward,” Nickelodeon said in a statement after Bell spoke out.

NBC’s full interview with Bell aired on Monday (20 May) on the TODAY show. It’s available to watch here.

Quiet on Set also included interviews with other Nickelodeon stars, who pulled back the curtain to reveal a toxic underbelly of abuse, harassment, racism and sexism on the sets of shows led by TV executive Dan Schneider.

Schneider has since filed a lawsuit against the Quiet on Set producers for defamation, calling the documentary a “hit job”.

“While it is indisputable that two bona fide child sexual abusers worked on Nickelodeon shows, it is likewise indisputable that Schneider had no knowledge of their abuse, was not complicit in the abuse, condemned the abuse once it was discovered and, critically, was not a child sexual abuser himself,” the legal documents read.

“But for the sake of clickbait, ratings, and views – or put differently, money – Defendants have destroyed Schneider’s reputation and legacy through the false statements and implications that Schneider is exactly that.”

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organisation for specialist, independent and confidential support. For more information, visit their website here.