All About Drake & Josh

Everyone is talking about the docuseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV.  For our purposes, you can skip to episode three, which focuses on Drake Bell.  I’m a bit too old to have seen Drake & Josh, but I do know it was a show on Nickelodeon.  Drake was 14 when he met dialogue coach Brian Peck on The Amanda Show.  The following year, Drake says that he woke up one morning on Peck’s living room couch and found Peck sexually assaulting him.  He doesn’t go into specifics, except to say he found himself in this and other compromising positions repeatedly for about a year.  Eventually, Drake told his mom what was happening, and they went to the police.  Drake then called Peck on a recorded line and got him to confess.  Brian Peck was charged with sodomy, forcible penetration, and using a foreign object.  There was one curious additional charge – “employment of a minor for pornography”.  Brian pled no contest to a lewd or lascivious act and oral copulation of a person under 16.  He spent 16 months in prison.  Drake was referred to as “John Doe”, and the case was sealed.

Now that the court documents have been made public, we learn that several people wrote letters on Brian Peck’s behalf.  While it’s unclear how much these people knew about the specific charges, there are letters from people like Taran Killam, Rider Strong, Alan Thicke, and even Joanna Kerns.  What troubled me most was one from James Marsden.  “I know Brian very well and I know how much he has suffered since August of 2003.  Brian is a good person with a very healthy fear and respect for the law, and I assure you, what Brian has been through in the last year is the suffering of a hundred men.  I don’t intend to victimize Brian, nor would he ever wish that, but I do feel compelled to shed light on the fact that he has learned his lesson.  I guarantee you, the earth would fall from the sky before Brian would ever think about doing something like this again.”  This begs the question – Huh?

Since Drake’s disclosure, people have gone out of their way to attack Josh Peck (no relation) – the Josh in Drake & Josh – for not supporting his former co-star.  Drake then issued a statement: “I just want you guys to know that he has reached out to me and it’s been very sensitive.  But he has reached out to talk with me and help me work through this.  And has been really, really great.  So just wanted to let you guys know that and to take it a little easy on him.”  Josh then said (in part), “I reached out to Drake privately, but want to give my support for the survivors who were brave enough to share their stories of emotional and physical abuse on Nickelodeon with the world.  Children should be protected.”  This is not a sentiment shared by everyone.  After his release from prison, Brian Peck was hired by the Disney Channel to work on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.  At least he has a type!

A sad codicil to this story is that Drake Bell has had numerous subsequent run-ins with the law.  In addition to DUIs and child endangerment charges, he pled guilty to sending inappropriate texts to a 15-year-old girl in 2017.  He feels this behavior stems from his abuse as a child.  He’s since been in various treatment and therapy facilities.


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