'So Full of Regret and Shame': Will Friedle and Rider Strong Didn't Know Who Drake Bell Was During Brian Peck Trial

Will Friedle and Rider Strong are continuing to set the record straight on their relationship with Brian Peck – and how their opinions have changed since the release of Quiet on Set

Published Time: 21.06.2024 - 00:31:08 Modified Time: 21.06.2024 - 00:31:08

Will Friedle and Rider Strong are continuing to set the record straight on their relationship with Brian Peck – and how their opinions have changed since the release of Quiet on Set.

On the June 20 episode of their Pod Meets World podcast — which they host with their Boy Meets World costar Danielle Fishel — Friedle, 47, said he is "still processing" everything he's learned about his former friend since the Investigation Discovery docuseries premiered in March.

"It's gonna be a lifelong journey of processing for me, yeah.I knew I had been lied to and manipulated by Brian, essentially, from the courtroom, but you didn't know how much until you saw the documentary," Friedle said. "And then I really didn't know how much until I spoke with Drake Bell."

Peck had appeared as a guest star on Boy Meets World season 5, and was someone both Friedle and Strong, 44, considered "a friend" for several years. When Quiet on Set aired, and Bell, 37, accused Peck of sexual assault, which resulted in the former Nickelodeon executive's arrest and subsequent 16-month jail stint, the Boy Meets World stars' previous support of Peck was also revealed.

They both wrote letters advocating for Peck — which they'd admitted to on their podcast in February — and Bell called them out for it on Instagram, claiming that Friedle was "not manipulated" into writing the letter of support but was, in fact, aware of the abuse he'd suffered and still supported Peck.

Recalling the trial, Friedle said he was "sitting in the back of the courtroom. There's no social media. I am 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, okay, I've been lied to. Automatically, I know this."

Fishel, 43, added that none of them knew "who the victim was until the documentary aired."

"Will, who had been in the courtroom, had never seen Drake on a TV show when he was in the courtroom. His name was never said in the courtroom. He was John Doe, or whatever they used." 

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After watching the documentary, which Strong called "devastating," he sa -

id he felt "so full of regret and shame" for the "pain" Bell had experienced — and that he started "picking apart the lies" Peck had fed him.

"I just fell into this hole. And, yeah, I mean, I still haven't quite gotten out of it," he said. "There's just so much cognitive dissonance that goes into it, too, when it's somebody that you considered a friend, somebody that you loved."

"I mean, I met Brian when I was 13. So this is now when I'm 24. He's telling me this story, and he says, here's how you can help me. And all you have to do is write this letter and, you know, it's just this one-time thing," he continued, adding that there was "so much denial" from Peck about the claims.

"There was no research to do, though. That's the thing. I asked the questions. I sat with him," Friedle said. "He had an answer for f---ing everything. And we bought it. I mean, Rider's right – there's no excuse. We bought it, hook, line, and sinker from this guy who had ingratiated himself into our lives."

Friedle and Strong have both since connected with Bell, who Strong said he was "so impressed" by and he felt he had to "reach out to," both to "obviously apologize but also just hopefully lessen his burden in some way" by reiterating that he had been "completely misinformed" at the time.

"And I got on the phone with him, and it was just instant connection, instant forgiveness," Strong recalled. "It was just amazing."

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Friedle had a similar experience with the Drake & Josh star. "Talking to Drake was amazing, for a number of reasons. It was horrible for a number of reasons. It was 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."

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

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