Actor Drake Bell Was Sexually Assaulted by Nickelodeon Dialogue Coach: 'It Was Extensive and Brutal'

The sexual abuse at the hands of Brian Peck occurred while Drake Bell was a 15-year-old cast member on 'The Amanda Show'

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

Courtesy Investigation Discovery

Drake Bell

For the first time, Drake Bell, the one time star of Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh, has spoken out publicly about being repeatedly molested by dialogue coach Brian Peck when he was a child.

The announcement comes as part of Bell’s appearance in Investigation Discovery’s upcoming four-part docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, which uncovers the toxic and dangerous culture behind some of the most iconic children’s shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s, many of which were produced by Dan Schneider.

“Brian and I became really close because we had a lot of the same interests, which looking back, I think that was probably a little calculated,” Bell, now 37, says in the docuseries, which premieres across two nights on ID from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT on March 17 and March 18.

Bell began acting at the age of 5, amid his parents' divorce. After mostly working in commercials and small TV parts, he landed an acting job on Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show in 1999. The next year, on the first day of the show's second season, Bell met Brian Peck, a dialogue coach who befriended him and would invite him to his house for acting lessons.

Related: ID Docuseries Goes Inside Alleged 'Toxic Environment' of Kids TV Shows Under Dan Schneider

After some time, Bell’s father, Joe Bell, expressed his concerns with production and said he was uncomfortable with Peck, who also appeared on screen as "Pickle Boy," always being around his son. The relationship between Peck and his son still didn't sit well with Joe and when he mentioned it again he claims he was "ostracized" on set and "backed off.”

<p>Nickelodeon ; Michael Tran/Getty</p> Drake Bell as Drake Parker in 'Drake & Josh'. ; Drake Bell attends the Thirst Project's Inaugural Legacy Summit on July 20, 2019.

Nickelodeon ; Michael Tran/Getty

Drake Bell as Drake Parker in 'Drake & Josh'. ; Drake Bell attends the Thirst Project's Inaugural Legacy Summit on July 20, 2019.

Peck later became Bell's manager, causing a rift between Bell and his father. Peck would frequently accompany Bell to acting auditions in Los Angeles, which were at least an hour away from where Bell lived with his mother. Due to the distance, Bell would frequently spend the night at Peck's house, but one night everything changed.

For more about the alleged toxic environment on the sets of Nickelodeon’s shows, subscribe now to PEOPLE, or pick up this week's issue, on newsstands Friday.

“I was sleeping on the couch where I usually sleep and I woke up to him... I opened my eyes and I woke up and he was…he was sexually assaulting me,” Bell, who was 15 at the time, says. “And I froze, and was in complete shock and had no idea what to do or how to react.”

“You know anytime I had an audition or anytime I needed to work on dialogue or anything, I somehow ended up back at Brian's house,” Bell continues. “And it just got worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and I was just trapped. I had no way out. The abuse was extensive and it got pretty brutal.”

Bell says the abuse happened more than once — and that he has never forgotten what happened to him.

Related: Drake Bell Says He Was Sexually Abused at Age 15 By Nickelodeon Dialogue Coach

“I often look back at that time and wonder how in the world I survived," he says. "I remember all of the abusive events, but everything outside of that is very blurry to me, which is a bummer because I experienced a lot of great things in my life and my career during this time. But it was so overshadowed and ruined by what I was dealing with on the inside that it made it really hard for me.”

In 2004, in connection with Bell's case, Peck pleaded no contest to a charge of oral copulation with a minor under 16 as well as a charge of performing a lewd act with a 14- or 15-year-old. Bell's identity as the victim was not made public at the time. Peck spent 16 months in prison and was mandated to register as a sex offender. 

Related: Everything Nickelodeon Stars Have Said About the Alleged 'Toxic Environment' on Set

Bell says in the docuseries that Schneider was not aware he was Peck's victim until Bell confided in him. Schneider — who left the network in 2018 — offered to support him in any way he could, says Bell.

<p>Bobby Bank/WireImage</p> Brian Peck

Bobby Bank/WireImage

Brian Peck

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Shattered by what he had endured, Bell says he began to drink heavily and use drugs. (In 2021, Bell pleaded guilty to two charges stemming from online behavior with an underage fan and was sentenced to two years’ probation and community service.)

Related: A Timeline of Drake Bell's Career and Controversies

In a statement to People, Nickelodeon says, "Now that Drake Bell had 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."

Bell’s story is one of many included in the docuseries, which features multiple interviews with former cast members, writers and crew from popular teen series like All That, The Amanda Show and Zoey 101.

Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, premieres across two nights on ID from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT on March 17 and March 18.

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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