Drake Bell Says He’s ‘Still Reeling’ From Sharing His Story in ‘Quiet on the Set’

Drake Bell reflected on the response to Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV during an Emmys event in Los Angeles yesterday, saying that he feels like he’s “in the fire right now.”

“Having to tell this sensitive of a story, something I held inside for so many years,” the actor said, according to Deadline. “I’m still reeling from the idea of bearing my soul to the world… Hollywood is a beautiful place, full of fantasy and imagination and fun. But it’s also a completely dark cesspool of disgusting waste. I’m hoping that we see shifts and changes inside the industry that are needed.”

Bell appeared on the panel alongside filmmakers Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz, and fellow former child stars Giovonnie Samuels and Bryan Hearne. He told the audience that before Quiet on Set, which investigates the treatment of child actors on Nickelodeon shows, was made he was approached about sharing his story for another documentary, despite not being public about it.

“Hollywood is very small, especially when you work on shows,” he told the audience. “You become a family. People talk. I just was not in a place where I wanted to talk or put it out in the world. The response was unbelievable. They wrote back and said, ‘Because of people like you, more children will be hurt in the industry. You need to speak out.’ I was like, ‘Did you just really send that to me?’ I was shocked.”

He added that he had a similar reaction to the Quiet on Set filmmakers because he was “struggling a lot at that point in my life.” Now he’s glad he did because it’s generated attention on an important issue, which was ignored at the time.

“There were years I would go and Google to see who has written about it,” Bell said. “It was nowhere. I couldn’t find stuff on Brian [Peck], there was more on Jason [Handy]. I was so perplexed by that. This is the response that I feel should have happened so many years ago, the reaction that everybody is having now. This needs to change.”

Elsewhere in the panel, Herne defended the parents of the child stars involved. “I don’t think it’s on the parents,” Hearne said. “I think that it’s important that there are people on set… who are tasked to give care and caretake to the emotions of the children on set. That’s the most important thing. The parents can only do so much.”

The former All That star added, “I kinda wanna clear something up about the narrative about whether or not I’ve been in touch with my mom since then. I didn’t leave All That and my mom. We have had a tumultuous relationship, we’re on again, off again, on again, off again. Right now we’re on again, and it feels permanent, and that’s really good.”

In Quiet on Set, Bell alleged he was sexually abused by All That and The Amanda Show dialogue coach Brian Peck beginning when he was age 15 while he working as a child star at the network. Brian Peck was arrested on 11 charges of child sexual abuse in 2003, and in 2004 pleaded no contest to two charges of child sexual abuse. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail and was ordered to register as a sex offender. The identity of the accuser was not known at the time, but it has since been revealed as Bell. 

Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV also examines the alleged toxic work environment within Drake & Josh creator and former Nickelodeon producer Dan Schneider’s celebrated Nickelodeon shows, including The Amanda Show, Victorious, Zoey 101, and iCarly. In the series, former crew members allege Schneider requested massages, whereas a Zoey 101 cast member claims Schneider hypersexualized scenes. 


In an interview with Rolling StoneQuiet on Set co-director Schwartz spoke about working with Bell on the series. “He’s told me that he feels like a certain weight has lifted,” Schwartz said. “He’s been holding this back for so long and that hopefully in sharing it, he can continue to heal and to let people know that sharing is not as scary as it might seem. It can, in fact, help you walk forward.”

In the most recent episode of Quiet on the Set, Herne and Samuels said they felt alienated as Black cast members on the network. “I was intimidated because I understood that Dan had the power to make anybody a star,” Samuels told Rolling Stone in March. “I wanted to make sure I did my job so that he would not only see me, give me that validation, but to push my career forward.”