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Fan Fallout After Doc Reveals Stars Wrote Support Letters For Nickelodeon Sexual Abuser

Taran Killam and James Marsden
Taran Killam and James Marsden Associated Press

James Marsden, Taran Killam, Rider Strong and other actors are receiving fallout on Instagram after it was revealed that they wrote letters of support for Brian Peck, a voice coach for Nickelodeon, who was found guilty of child sexual abuse in 2004.

“As someone who has always enjoyed your work, I feel incredibly disgusted and disappointed at your support for a child abuser,” one comment on Marsden’s latest Instagram post reads.

In the Investigation Discovery docuseries “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV,” which premiered this month, actor Drake Bell said Peck sexually abused him while Bell was a minor.

Peck was arrested and charged with 11 counts of child sexual abuse in 2003 and then served 16 months in prison and was registered as a sex offender, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Court documents for the case were unsealed for the documentary, including 41 letters of support for Peck written to the judge to influence the judge during sentencing.

Marsden, Killam, Strong, Will Friedle and Alan Thicke were just some of the people who wrote letters of support for Peck. Marsden wrote in his letter of support that he had known Peck since the actor was a teenager.

“I assure you, what Brian has been through in the last year is the suffering of a hundred men,” Marsden wrote in his letter of support, according to the documentary.

Killam wrote in his letter of support: “I’ve seen the effects this situation has had on Brian and I know for a fact he regrets any mistakes made.”

According to the documentary, it’s unclear what the people knew about the abuse before they wrote the letters of support.

Representatives for Marsden, Killam, Strong and Friedle didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Killam’s latest Instagram post is also filled with comments about his letter of support.

“I’m so disappointed to see you write that letter in support of child sex abuse,” one comment reads. “You’ve always been one of my favorites. I can longer speak highly of you or your work ever again. You owe Drake an apology and all those kids who have suffered silently in Hollywood at the hands of predators. Shamee on you!!!!!!”

“I pray your kids never have to encounter what Drake bell went through, with one of your friends you support. Disgusting,” a comment on Strong’s Instagram reads.

Strong and his “Boy Meets World” co-star Friedle spoke about supporting Peck on their podcast “Pod Meets World.”

“And we’re sitting in that courtroom on the wrong side of everything, of course, having no idea of this, filled with child actors, to the point where the victim’s mother turned and said, ‘look at all the famous people you brought with you. And it doesn’t change what you did to my kid,’” Friedle said on the podcast.

Friedle said he wasn’t told the whole story of Peck’s abuse, but that doesn’t change the fact that he and Strong wrote letters of support for Peck. Friedle and Strong said that Peck would tell them that he was a “victim of jailbait.”

“And we bought that storyline,” Strong said. “We got into that storyline, as opposed to saying, ‘Whoa, grown man who’s 40-something years old. What the hell were you doing to begin with?’”

Kate Taylor, a senior features correspondent at Business Insider, whose reporting sparked the documentary, told HuffPost in an email that there doesn’t seem to have been any “concrete consequences” for the people who wrote letters of support.

I’ve certainly been seeing backlash online since the series aired,” Taylor said of “Quiet on Set.” “At the same time, that has been tempered by people like [actress] Joanna Kerns, Will, and Rider saying they did not have a full understanding of the situation when they wrote these letters”

Bell told Taylor in March: “There were so many people in power that tried to protect this person. Not only people in power but people that I considered friends.”

Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

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