Drake Bell calls out “Boy Meets World” stars Will Friedle and Rider Strong for supporting abuser Brian Peck

"Many people turned away and said no I won’t write a letter but they did," Bell said of the actors who vouched for Peck before his 2004 sentencing.

After sharing his testimony about the “extensive” sexual abuse he survived as a teen from convicted child molester Brian Peck, Drake Bell is now calling out other Hollywood figures for supporting his abuser.

The Drake & Josh star called out Boy Meets World actors Rider Strong and Will Friedle for writing letters of support for Peck when the Nickelodeon dialogue coach was awaiting sentencing for sexually assaulting Bell when he was 15. "RIDER WAS 24 years old when he wrote the letter and was told by Brian what he did. He wrote the letter anyway,” Bell wrote in a comment Friday on Zoey 101 star Alexa Nikolas’ Instagram post.

Bell made a similar statement about Friedle in a since-deleted comment on the same post (of which Nikola shared a screenshot), and said that the actor continued working with him on Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man in the 2010s. “Will was 27 years old and Brian told him what he did,” Bell wrote. “Many people turned away and said no I won’t write a letter but they did. Will was not manipulated. Brian admitted it to him and he wrote the letter anyway. Then he worked with me on many many episodes of spider man years later and never said a word to me about it.”

Christopher Polk/Getty Images Drake Bell
Christopher Polk/Getty Images Drake Bell

Friedle and Strong addressed their relationship with Peck in an episode of their podcast Pod Meets World in February. "My instinct initially was, 'My friend, this can’t be. It’s gotta be the other person’s fault,'" Friedle said. "The story makes complete sense the way that he’s saying it."

"He didn’t say that nothing had happened," Strong explained. "So by the time we heard about this case and knew anything about it, it was always in the context of, 'I did this thing, I am guilty. I am going to take whatever punishment the government determines, but I’m a victim of jailbait. There was this hot guy, I just did this thing and he’s underage.' And we bought that storyline. I never heard about the other things because, back then, you couldn’t Google to find out what people were being charged with."

Bell speculated that the actors recorded that podcast because they knew the Investigation Discovery docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV was about to expose their support for Peck via recently unsealed court documents. “This is because they were told [their] letters are going to be made public,” Bell wrote in his Instagram comment. “Everyone thought the letters would be sealed forever and no one would ever see them. This is their publicist telling them how to get ahead of the story.”

Reps for Friedle, Strong, and Bell did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

<p>David Livingston/FilmMagic</p> Will Friedle and Rider Strong

David Livingston/FilmMagic

Will Friedle and Rider Strong

Friedle expressed his later regret in the podcast. “There’s an actual victim here, and he turned us against the victim to where now we’re on his team,” he said. “That’s the thing where, to me, I look back at that as my ever-loving shame for this entire [thing]. Getting taken in by somebody who’s a good actor and a manipulator, I could chalk that up to being young and that’s the way it is. It’s awful. I’m going to use that for my growth as a human being, but when there’s an actual victim involved and now I’m on the abuser’s side, that’s the thing I can’t get over and haven’t been able to get over."

Quiet on Set revealed that other celebrities, including James Marsden, Taran Killam, and Growing Pains stars Alan Thicke and Joanna Kerns also wrote letters of support for Peck during the trial. Only Kerns provided a follow-up statement that was included in the documentary: “I have now learned that my letter of support was based on complete misinformation. Knowing what I know now, I never would have written the letter.”

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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