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Drake Bell Reveals Whether He’s Heard From Actors Who Wrote Letters Supporting Brian Peck, Defends Mom From Online Backlash


Drake Bell is continuing to tell his story in the latest episode of ID’s “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” documentary. Titled “Breaking the Silence,” the fifth episode, which aired on Sunday, April 7, began with Bell speaking to host Soledad O’Brien about what has happened since he came forward for the first time about being sexually assaulted by Brian Peck.

O’Brien specifically asked Bell, who spoke virtually from Mexico City, about Will Friedle and Rider Strong, two of the actors who wrote character letters for Peck in the 2003 case. The duo spoke about the decision to do so on their podcast, but hearing their comments didn’t change how Bell felt about that day in court, he said.

“I worked with Will on ‘Spider-Man’ and there was a lot of opportunity to apologize or talk about it and [he] never did, but also, it’s a very difficult subject to bring up, especially in a work environment,” Bell said on Sunday’s episode. “That’s the thing that’s hard about this — everyone deals with their trauma in different ways, everybody comes to different conclusions at different times in their lives and realizations.”

Ahead of the doc’s release, Friedle and Strong revealed their experience with Peck on “Pod Meets World,” with them admitting they were groomed and manipulated and in turn, were on “the wrong side of everything” and felt awful. At the time, they didn’t know Bell was the victim and were not aware of the crimes Peck had committed.

“I really appreciate their perspective now, but that day is so ingrained in my mind,” Bell said on Sunday. “Nobody’s reached out to me.”

The documentary revealed that more than 40 people had written character letters for Peck, including Taran Killam, James Marsden and Alan Thicke. Bell reiterated that “not one person who’s written one of those letters” has personally reached out to him. (On Friday, Bell tweeted that he had a conversation with Strong and felt “nothing but love and forgiveness for him.”)

Bell stated that the doc was “very hard to watch,” especially the allegations of racism, sexism and inappropriate workplace behavior against producer Dan Schneider.

“I can only speak from my experience, and I can’t take away from anyone else’s experience,” he said. “I can just say that during this time with Brian, Dan was really the only one from the network that even made an effort to help me and make sure I was okay.”

During the special, Bell credited his group therapy and time in rehab to helping him get to where he is today: “Obviously, things like DUIs and choices I made in my life, they’re choices I made on my own so I do have to take accountability and responsibility for those things but it’s really eye opening to get down to, what’s the root cause? Where is this coming from?”

Bell also responded to those on social media who are bashing his mother for not protecting him more — something he says isn’t fair.

“If you were in that situation at that time, he was so good at what he was doing. He was so calculated, he knew exactly what to say, how to say it, what to do, the image to portray, everything,” Bell said about Peck’s behavior. “I completely understand how he just pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes. It’s tragic.”