’90s Child Stars Are Coming Forward About Abuse in New Documentary

A Fairly Odd Summer Drake Bell, Daniella Monet, (aired Aug. 2, 2014).
Norman Shapiro/Nickelodeon/Everett Collection

Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV is a new documentary aiming to show audiences what it was really like during the filming of some very popular ’90s and 2000s kid’s shows. The four-part series will uncover the toxic work conditions that child stars suffered on shows such as iCarly, Zoey 101, The Amanda Show, All That, and more. The biggest shock is that Drake Bell, best known for being a part of Drake & Josh, has revealed that he was the star who was sexually abused by Nickelodeon dialogue and acting coach Brian Peck.

Peck was arrested on 11 charges, including a lewd act upon a child 14 or 15 by a person 10 years older, in 2003. For many years, it has been a secret as to who the star was that he sexually abused, but now Bell is coming forward and sharing his side of the story. He reveals in the documentary, “I was sleeping on the couch where I would usually sleep. I woke up to him — I opened my eyes, I woke up and he was sexually assaulting me. I froze and was in complete shock and had no idea what to do or how to react, and I have no idea how to get out of this situation.” He was just 15 at the time and said that the abuse kept getting worse and worse but he didn’t feel like he could tell anyone about it.

Drake & Josh Jonathan Goldstein, Miranda Cosgrove, Drake Bell, Josh Peck, Nancy Sullivan, 2004-07

Nickelodeon/Everett Collection

Eventually, Bell’s girlfriend’s mother realized that something strange was going on when Peck called repeatedly one evening. She took him to therapy where he began to process what had happened. When Peck tried to get cast on Drake & Josh, Bell told his mom and she called the police and the investigation began.

Nickelodeon executive and creator of many popular shows, Dan Schneider has also been accused of abuse from his shows’ stars. Cast, crew, and their families will deliver emotional stories of being on the set. Many said that “working for Dan was like being in an abusive relationship.” In addition, the documentary is meant to “shine a spotlight on these emotional accounts, chronicling a pattern of gross, abusive and manipulative behavior that unfolded across decades, as well as exclusive stories about child predators on set.”

Writer/producer Dan Schneider arrives at Nickelodeon's exclusive premiere for the upcoming primetime TV event of the summer. "iParty with Victorious," Saturday, June 4, 2011 at The Lot in Los Angeles. "iParty with Victorious" premieres Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) and stars the casts of Nickelodeon's hit series iCarly and Victorious

Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

After news broke of the documentary, Schneider’s spokesperson responded, “Dan cared about the kids on his shows even when sometimes their own families unfortunately did not. He understood what they were going through and he was their biggest champion. The fact is many of the kids on these shows are put in the untenable position of becoming the breadwinner for their family and the pressure that comes along with that. Add on top of that the difficulties of growing up and having to do so under the spotlight while working a demanding job, all as a child. That is why there are many levels of standards, executives, lawyers, teachers and parents everywhere, all the time, on every set, every day. However, it is still a hard place to be a kid and nobody knew that better than Dan.”

To get the full stories, watch Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV when it premieres on ID from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT on March 17-18.

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