Drake Bell explains why he participated in “Quiet on Set ”in first interview since docuseries

"I’ve always been cautious and on edge whenever approached to talk about such a sensitive topic," Bell said of sharing his story of being abused as a teen.

Drake Bell is discussing his decision to share his story in Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV.

In a new episode of The Sarah Fraser Show — his first interview since the release of the bombshell Investigation Discovery docuseries about Nickelodeon — the Drake & Josh actor explained why he decided to publicly open up about the sexual abuse he survived as a teen from Amanda Show dialogue coach Brian Peck for the first time.

Bell said that he was initially cautious to consult with the Quiet on Set team due to a negative experience with a previous unrelated documentary project. “[Another documentary] requested my involvement, and when I declined, the response I got was unbelievable,” he explained. “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. 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.”

<p>Courtesy Investigation Discovery</p> Drake Bell

Courtesy Investigation Discovery

Drake Bell

The actor went on to detail how he was reluctant to even respond to the Quiet on Set team’s inquiries, let alone consider participating in the doc — but the interactions he had with one of the directors, Emma Schwartz, set him at ease. “She was very sensitive, and we kind of became buddies before [I agreed to participate],” he 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, ‘Okay, 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.”

Soon after meeting with Schwartz, Bell went to rehab to process some of his trauma. “I just felt really comfortable in that interview, but I was going through so much in my personal life and after that interview I ended up checking myself into rehab,” he said. “We were going through a lot of trauma therapy, a lot of group therapy, a lot of one-on-one therapy — 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. 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% yet, let’s talk some more, but I’m getting closer to feeling comfortable with finally sharing my story.’”

Bell also said that he was hesitant to involve his father, who had suspicions about Peck, in the documentary. “My dad is a very emotional guy, and he has such a big heart. And I was very cautious about involving him," Bell explained. He realized, however, that “maybe it would be cathartic and beneficial for my dad to be able to do” the doc as well. “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.”

The actor also said he hasn’t been impressed with Nickelodeon’s response thus far to the documentary, in which he detailed his role in helping lead to the arrest and 2004 conviction of his abuser. “There’s 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.”

“I find it pretty empty, their responses, because, I mean, they still show our shows, they still put our shows on,” he continued. “And I have to pay for my own therapy, I have to figure out what — I mean 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.”

Following release of Quiet on Set, Nickelodeon issued the following statement: “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,”

Additionally, the following statement ended every episode of Quiet on Set: “In response to producers’ questions, Nickelodeon has stated it ‘investigates all formal complaints as part of our commitment to fostering a safe and professional workplace… [W]e have adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to our own high standards and the expectations of our audience.”

You can listen to Bell's full interview on The Sarah Fraser Show above.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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