Quiet on Set documentary: Nickelodeon star Drake Bell details extensive sexual assault at 15 by Brian Peck

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Mar 14, 2024 at 12:55 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

On Sunday 17 March 2024, a scathing docu-series is due to air which will reveal the extensive abuse that took place behind the scenes of numerous Nickelodeon TV shows—many of which were our favourites growing up. Quiet on Set, which many are regarding as a damming exposé on former Nickelodeon wunderkind Dan Schneider, will also feature intimate testimonies from actors who experienced abuse during their time at the TV network.

In fact, for the first time, Drake Bell, best known for his starring role in the hit show Drake & Josh, will be coming forward with accusations of extensive abuse against his former dialogue coach Brian Peck.

For context, this Nickelodeon reckoning has been in the making for some time now. Over the past few years, more and more actors have come out to share their experiences, both in regards to the overall systemic abuse that took place on different shows’ sets, but also in respect of Schneider’s incredibly toxic and problematic demeanour towards child actors. Once credited as the brains behind some of the most successful kids’ TV shows ever, Schneider’s reputation has suffered greatly in recent years.

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Who is responsible for keeping child stars safe behind closed doors? From relentless pressure to grow up too fast, to troubled relationships with parents and co-stars, we uncover the often overlooked dark side of the Nickelodeon universe. Welcome back to Reel Talk, the series where we break down viral videos to serve you fresh perspectives every week 🌶️ 🔗 Link in bio to watch the full episode on YouTube #drakebell #drakeandjosh #quietonset #danschneider #nickelodeon #childactors

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One of the most prominent voices in this conversation has been former Nickelodeon star Alexa Nikolas who appeared on Jamie Lynn Spears’ break-out show Zoey 101.

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Zoey101’s #AlexaNikolas shares her “uncomfortable” experiences in wardrobe fittings with #DanSchneider (🎥: Real Pod with Victoria Garrick)

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Nikolas has been incredibly vocal about Schneider’s inappropriateness on set and has claimed that the TV executive would demand to participate in each one of her costume fittings when she was just 12 years old. Speaking about these situations while appearing on the podcast Real Pod in 2022, the actor shared: “Whenever I had wardrobe fittings, [Schneider] always had to be in them. Thank God there was a curtain, but he was literally [sitting] on [a] chair right outside of the curtain.”

Nikolas continued: “[It was] to the point where he would sit in the chair, and I would come out and do a little spin. [Schneider] would look at the wardrobe artist and say, ‘Can I have the Polaroids?’”

During the Quiet on Set trailer, a number of people who worked with Schneider also shared how difficult it was to interact with him daily, emphasising his highly toxic qualities.

Schneider has always vehemently denied any accusations of sexual misconduct. Indeed, a spokesperson for the producer and screenwriter stated: “Dan has said himself that he was a tough boss to work for and, if he could do things over again, he would act differently. But let’s be clear, when Dan departed Nickelodeon, a full investigation was done and again, all that was found is that he was a challenging, tough and demanding person to work for and with, nothing else.”

In the case of Bell and Peck, the extent of the abuse is severe. According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), in 2003 Peck, who was 43 at the time, was arrested on 11 charges including sodomy, lewd act upon a child 14 or 15 by a person 10 years older, and oral copulation by anaesthesia or controlled substance. However, the minor had not been named until now.

Bell first met Peck on the set of The Amanda Show, Amanda Bynes’ breakout series. During Quiet on Set’s third episode, Bell goes into detail about how and when the abuse occurred. Describing the first time Peck abused him, the former actor shared: “I was sleeping on the couch where I would usually sleep. I woke up to him—I opened my eyes, I woke up and he was sexually assaulting me. I froze and was in complete shock and had no idea what to do or how to react, and I had no idea how to get out of this situation.”

Bell, who was 15 at the time, continued: “He figured out how to convince my mom and everyone around to, anytime I would have an audition or anytime I needed to work on dialogue or anything, I somehow ended up back at Brian’s house and it just got worse and worse and worse and worse. I was just trapped. I had no way out. The abuse was extensive and it got pretty brutal. I don’t know how to elaborate on that on camera, really… Why don’t you think of the worst stuff that someone could do to somebody as a sexual assault, and then I’ll answer your question. I don’t know how else to put it.”

Moreover, it’s revealed in the docu-series that Peck had a close friendship with John Wayne Gacy, a prolific serial killer and sex offender. Allegedly, Peck and Gacy had become pen pals when the criminal was in prison.

When Peck tried to get cast as the dad on Bell’s next show Drake & Josh, the young actor finally revealed the abuse to his mother, who then promptly contacted the authorities.

Bell goes on to explain how the trauma has impacted his life, going into detail about his struggles with sobriety and mental health. In 2021, Bell was arrested and pleaded guilty to charges of attempted child endangerment. The actor was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service. Speaking about the incident in the documentary, Bell stated: “I took responsibility for that, I did what was asked of me. The media grabbed ahold of so much misinformation and it absolutely destroyed me, and I started to spin out of control.”

Quiet on Set will likely reveal much more about how truly dangerous the television industry can be, and will continue to be, for children.

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