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Drake Bell Was “Cautious” About Being Involved in ‘Quiet on Set,’ Checked Himself Into Rehab Before Docuseries

Drake Bell sat down for his first interview following the release of Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, where he touched on everything from his hesitations about being a part of the docuseries to his father’s involvement in it.

Early in Bell’s interview on The Sarah Fraser Show (below), the actor-musician explained that he was originally “cautious” about participating in Quiet on Set because he had previously been approached about doing another documentary. When he declined, the response was “unbelievable.”

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“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,” Bell explained about the previous project. “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.”

When the Quiet on Set team originally reached out to him, he admitted he was hesitant to respond and even more reluctant to consider being in the docuseries. But, when he first interacted with one of the directors, Emma Schwartz, he felt more at ease.

“She was very sensitive, and we kind of became buddies before [I agreed to participate],” Bell said. “I could tell that she was coming from a genuine place when we started our back-and-forth, and it wasn’t of an angle of, ‘OK, what do I have to say to get him involved? And I’ll just say what I have to say to convince him.’ I really felt a comfort with her. And so I said, you know, ‘If you’re willing to come out to L.A. and sit down, at least I’ll meet with you.'”

After Bell and Schwartz’s first interview, he explained that he felt really comfortable with her but was going through so much in his personal life at the time that he chose to go into rehab, where he underwent a lot of trauma therapy, in groups and in one-on-one sessions.

“Your entire day was filled with working through and processing this with a clear mind and unearthing all of these things that I hadn’t faced head-on, or if I had tried to, it was too painful,” he continued. “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 100 percent yet, let’s talk some more, but I’m getting closer to feeling comfortable with finally sharing my story.”‘”

The Drake & Josh star revealed that his child sexual abuse at the hands of Brian Peck (unrelated to co-star Josh Peck) didn’t just affect him; it also affected his parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. He said that it’s something they’ve all had to deal with since it happened.

The actor went on to explain how his father, who makes an appearance in the docuseries, got involved with it. In the four-part documentary, Bell’s father explained that Brian Peck started inching his way into his son’s life, and he voiced his concerns to the producers, only to be accused of being homophobic.

“My dad is a very emotional guy, and he has such a big heart, and I was very cautious about involving him,” Bell said on the podcast, eventually deciding to include him because he thought “maybe it would be cathartic and beneficial for my dad to be able to do [it as well].” He added, tearing up, “I’m sure that my dad puts a lot of blame on himself, you know? And I thought that this might be an opportunity for him to realize that, you know, that it’s one person’s fault.”

In the lengthy podcast appearance, Bell also touched on how he felt about Nickelodeon’s response that was shared in the doc.

“It was a very well-tailored response saying, ‘Learning about his trauma,’ because they couldn’t say that they didn’t know about this or what had happened, or anything,” he said. “So I think that was a really well-tailored response by probably some big attorney in Hollywood.”

He 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. … If there was anything, 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.”

Later in the interview, Fraser asked Bell about his relationship with Dan Schneider, who served as the showrunner on several Nickelodeon series that ended up having allegations of abuse, sexism, racism and inappropriate behavior against them in the doc.

He shared that he had worked with Schneider for quite some time when the Brian Peck allegations first came out. While Bell didn’t publicly reveal that he was the person the dialogue coach victimized until Quiet on Set, Schneider had an idea it was him and reached out. Due to their long-time working relationship, Bell felt comfortable admitting to Schneider that it was him.

“He knew what I was probably dealing with, but I could tell in his voice that he got very, there was a lot of hurt and anger, but he was very sensitive to me, and that was my experience,” Bell said. He added, however, that his good relationship with Schneider doesn’t make his fellow Nickelodeon stars’ stories about the showrunner any less important or true.

He said, “Watching the documentary, you hear the things that other people are saying, and you can’t — especially with what I’ve been through — I can only react and respond to what I’ve actually experienced and also not say anything that would take away from somebody else having the comfortability and strength and bravery to tell their story and share their experiences.”

Toward the end of the podcast, Bell addressed some of the troubles he’s faced over the years, including his child endangerment charges in 2021 (which he addressed in the docuseries), being reported as “missing and endangered” in 2023, and serving jail time for driving under the influence in 2016.

Fraser asked him if he realized while all of these things were happening that they may have been a result of his sexual abuse, or if it didn’t click for him until he finally got help in the rehab he checked himself in to. He explained it was a little bit of both and stated that The New York Times retracted its story that said he had been registered as a sex offender following the 2021 charges. (The Times still has the story online but on March 18 added a correction at the bottom that noted he was given probation and community service, not registered as a sex offender.)

“It’s difficult. So, you’re battling with things that are being said about you that are completely false and untrue, but you’re being completely attacked for it,” Bell said on the podcast. “But also juxtaposing that, I have to take responsibility and accountability because nobody grabbed my hand and forced me to do those things — I mean, other than Brian. But the decisions that I made are mine and mine alone, and you know you have to process that and work through it, but it’s difficult at the same time when there’s so much misinformation and lies and things being said about you.”

Watch the full podcast below.

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