Will Friedle Details Talk With Drake Bell After ‘Quiet on Set’ Release, Says He Didn’t Know Bell Was Brian Peck’s Victim Despite Being in the Courtroom

Will Friedle and Rider Strong, who wrote letters of support for Brian Peck in his 2003 case against Drake Bell, have spoken out for the first time following the release of the “Quiet on Set” documentary.

At the time, Peck was accused of sexually abusing a then-unnamed, underage teen. Both Friedle and Strong had been close friends with him and were asked to write character letters in his defense, something they revealed during a February episode of their podcast after getting a call that a documentary was being made. One month later, the “Quiet on Set” trailer revealed that Bell was the 15-year-old victim who was assaulted by 43-year-old Peck.

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While Friedle was in the courtroom, neither he nor Strong were aware that Bell was the victim, they said during the June 20 episode of their “Pod Meets World” podcast.

“I’m sitting in the back of the courtroom. There’s no social media. I’m 26 years old at the time. I don’t watch Nickelodeon. I don’t know who Drake Bell is. I see a kid walk into the courtroom and I’m like, ok, I’ve been lied to. Automatically I know this,” Friedle said, since he had been told by Peck that the person was “almost 18” and was a “one-time” incident. (Peck spent 16 months in prison after being charged with eight counts of sexual abuse and had to register as a sex offender.)

During the fifth episode of the doc, Bell said that when he later worked with Friedle on “Ultimate Spider-Man” 10 years after the case, he had “a lot of opportunity to apologize or talk about it” but never did so.

“It’s gonna be life-long processing for me. I knew I had been lied to and manipulated by Brian, essentially from the courtroom, but I didn’t know how much until I saw the documentary. And then I really didn’t know how much until I spoke with Drake,” Friedle said. While he and Strong made attempts to get ahold of Bell through his team after the doc aired, it wasn’t until Bell saw the Instagram DM Strong sent that he replied and they each got on the phone. “Talking to Drake was amazing… horrible… healing, for a number of reasons. He started the conversation by saying to me, ‘Before you say a word, I want you to know I love you and I forgive you.'”

During their call, Friedle told Bell he had no idea it was him back then or on set years later.

“We both talked about how happy we were that was the case because we had the best day working together. All I wanted to do from the day in that courtroom was apologize to whoever was there. The idea that I found out later that he was standing in front of me and I did not have that [chance] was nuts,” he explained. “There comes a point where you have to look at yourself and go, I have to be ok that I made a huge mistake, that I owe this person an enormous apology, that it’s not going to be enough and I’m going to spend a ton of time apologizing to this person. You have to use that to move on a become a better person yourself.”

Strong added that watching the doc was “just devastating,” especially seeing how much Bell had gone through.

“The pain, hurting for Drake, and feeling so full of regret and shame and then just start picking apart the lies… my brother called me immediately, we just sat there on the phone, [comparing stories]. I just fell into this hole. I still haven’t quite gotten out,” he explained. “Of course, moral clarity is something that comes over time and distance. There’s really no excuse — that I accepted Brain’s story, that I didn’t ask the questions or do research or investigate on my own. Or even that I was ever friends with that piece of shit to behind with, there was so much denial.”

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