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Drake Bell Calls Nickelodeon’s Response ‘Pretty Empty’ in First Interview Since Release of ‘Quiet on Set’

After some initial reluctance, Drake Bell‘s appearance on the Investigation Discovery docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV became part of the actor’s healing process.

Reflecting on his involvement in the program and its aftermath, Bell appeared on The Sarah Fraser Show for his first interview since the series debuted, detailing his reasons for agreeing to share his story for the first time on Quiet on Set. As revealed on QOS, Bell survived sexual abuse as a teen by his former dialogue coach Brian Peck.

At the 3-minute mark in the interview linked above, Bell shared that he was asked to be in a prior documentary about the abuse, but received a victim-shaming response when he declined.

“In the email, they said that people like me were the problem, and this is why things aren’t gonna change in the industry because people like you won’t speak out and won’t come forward,” he said. “It was just all this shaming of me not wanting to be a part of their documentary. So I’ve always been cautious and on-edge whenever approached to talk about such a sensitive topic.”

Although Bell was “trepidatious” about QOS, the show’s co-director Emma Schwartz was “sensitive” to Bell’s experience, even offering to meet with him in-person. After the initial interview, Bell went to rehab, where he had access to “a lot of trauma therapy, a lot of group therapy, [and] a lot of one-on-one therapy” to help him process his trauma.

“And so through that process, once I got out, I thought to myself, ‘Maybe this is a good time to reach back out to them and say, ‘Hey, I’m not one-hundred percent yet, let’s talk some more, but I’m getting closer to feeling comfortable with finally sharing my story,'” he continued around the 6:40 mark.

Bell shared some disturbing information around 26 minutes in, when he disclosed that people who worked alongside him on Drake & Josh supported his abuser with letters to the judge. In 2004, Peck was sentenced to 16 months in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender after his conviction of lewd acts with a minor. Until recently, it went unspecified that the minor was Bell, who was 15 when the abuse began.

“I haven’t gotten an apology, or a sorry, from anybody that had written letters or was involved in supporting him at all,” Bell said on the podcast.

But around the 41-minute mark of the video, Bell reiterated that his Drake & Josh co-star Josh Peck has supported him during the QOS saga, and defended Peck from online threats.

“I feel bad that a lot of people are going, ‘Your silence is deafening.’ And it’s like, ‘Well, don’t jump so quickly, because you don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes,'” he said. “I want to make sure that everybody understands that we’ve spoken and he’s in my corner, but some things are very sensitive.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Bell called Nickelodeon’s statement about his abuse “a very well-tailored response, by probably some big attorney in Hollywood.”

Bell continued, “I find it pretty empty, their responses, because, I mean, they still show our shows, they still put our shows on. And I have to pay for my own therapy; I have to figure out what — I mean if there was any truth behind them actually caring, there would be something more than quotes on a page by obviously a legal representative telling them exactly how to tailor a response.”

Shortly after Bell spoke on the four-part docuseries, the children’s network issued a statement, per Deadline.

“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,” it read.

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