"Breaking the Silence": The biggest takeaways from the fifth "Quiet on Set" episode

The new episode of the bombshell series builds upon shocking revelations and sees the return of prior participants

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published April 8, 2024 3:53PM (EDT)

Drake Bell prepare backstage during The 3rd Annual Blue Jacket Fashion Show Benefitting The Prostate Cancer Foundation at Pier 59 Studios on February 7, 2019 in New York City, NY. (Rob Kim/Getty Images for Blue Jacket)
Drake Bell prepare backstage during The 3rd Annual Blue Jacket Fashion Show Benefitting The Prostate Cancer Foundation at Pier 59 Studios on February 7, 2019 in New York City, NY. (Rob Kim/Getty Images for Blue Jacket)

Ever since it premiered last month, "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV," has continued to gain momentum. Investigation Discovery's multi-part docuseries — teeming with allegations of systemic workplace abuse at children's television channel, Nickelodeon — was so explosive, in fact, that directors Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz decided to proceed with a fifth episode, which aired on Sunday. Moderated by award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien, "Breaking the Silence" expounds upon the stark, harrowing revelations illuminated by the first four episodes, including abuse perpetuated by network creator, Dan Schneider, as well the sexual abuse Drake Bell endured by his former dialogue and acting coach at Nickelodeon, Brian Peck. Along with Bell, the latest "Quiet on Set" installment sees the return of "All That" cast members, joined by a new participant and fellow alum of the sketch-comedy show. 

Here are the most telling takeaways from the bonus episode of "Quiet on Set." 

None of the people who wrote a letter of support on behalf of Brian Peck reached out to Drake Bell ahead of "Breaking the Silence" premiere
O'Brien at one point during the episode underscored how "Boy Meets World" actors Will Friedle and Rider Strong discussed their support of Peck throughout his criminal trial during their podcast, "Pod Meets World," which prompted Bell to share that he had never received an apology from Friedle during the time they worked together on animated series, "Ultimate Spider-Man." He followed by noting how, of those who wrote letters of support for his convicted abuser, "nobody's reached out to me."
"Personally, no, not one person who's written one of those letters has reached out to me," Bell told O'Brien. Most recently, Bell on Friday shared on X/Twitter that he had "an amazing conversation" with Strong, adding that he has "nothing but love and forgiveness for him."

Soledad O'Brien addresses the tension between Bell's positive review of Dan Schneider and other abuse claims
At one point during O'Brien's conversation with Bell, she candidly addressed her surprise at Schneider's support of him throughout his ordeal, asking how it squared with "what basically everybody else said about their treatment" by the Nickelodeon creator. "It was really hard to watch," Bell said, "because I can only speak from my experience and I can't take away from anyone else's experience."
"You know, I can just say that during this time with Brian, Dan was really the only one from the network who that even made an effort to help me and make sure I was OK," he added. 
Drake Bell discusses "unique bond" with former "Drake and Josh" co-star, Josh Peck
Speaking about the ridicule Peck (unrelated to Brian Peck) faced in the wake of the docuseries' debut for his perceived silence on the matter, Bell shared that he understood what it is like to be lambasted by social media for "really nothing." Peck eventually took to his Instagram to share a personal statement, in which he expressed his support to those involved in "Quiet on Set." "Children should be protected," Peck wrote. "Reliving this publicly is incredibly difficult, but I hope it can bring healing for the victims and their families as well as necessary change to our industry."
"He had reached out to me and we've been talking," Bell clarified to O'Brien. "This is a really difficult thing to process. But at the end of the day, you know, we have such a close connection and this unique bond that's so rare in this industry that — I don't know, it's really special and he's a really great person."
Drake Bell's latest song and accompanying music video detail his abuse and the subsequent fallout
The actor shared music's therapeutic role in his life and healing journey, observing how it functions as "my diary or my journal." Bell continued by sharing how his latest song, "I Kind of Relate," was a product of the prolific writing he did following his participation in "Quiet on Set."
"After I did this doc, I started just writing even more and more and more and stuff started pouring out" he said. "And that's actually when I wrote the new song I just put out that addresses the abuse and other things that I've gone through in my life and the rehab. And it's kind of the most vulnerable, honest, self-reflective stuff that I've ever written."
"All That" actors address diversity issues on the show
Former "All That" cast members Giovannie Samuels and Bryan Hearne returned for the fifth installment to sit down with O'Brien and delve further into revelations made in the first four parts of "Quiet on Set"; chief among those topics was the issue of diversity that both Samuels and Hearne identified during their time at Nickelodeon.
Samuels and Hearne — as the only Black actors on "All That" — responded to the part of Schneider's apology video in which he claimed that "diversity has always been very important to me in my shows" with a fair amount of skepticism, alleging instead that they felt highly tokenized on the show. "If you go back to the first Nickelodeon show I ever made, that's very evident," Schneider says in the interview with former "iCarly" actor BooG!e also known as Bobby Bowman. "As it is in the second one, and then the first movie I ever made for Nickelodeon, which starred Kenan and Kel."
Hearne stated that his "gripe" with Schneider's response "is that the question itself was posed to him about us," but the reply was regarding how he launched the careers of two other Black Nickelodeon actors. "So they talked about us being overlooked, and then he overlooked us in his answer," Hearne said.
Later in the episode, while speaking to Hearne and another former "Quiet on Set" participant, his mother Tracey Brown, O'Brien aired a never-before-seen clip of "The Amanda Show" actor Raquel Lee Bolleau. Bolleau in the new footage shared a degrading experience in which she was spit on by Amanda Bynes. She described a sketch called "The Literals," in which Bynes would repeatedly spit in her face every time she prompted her to "spit it out."
“I was so mad that the director hurried and put me on the side of the set and was like, ‘Listen, Raquel. Breathe in, breathe out," Bolleau recalled in the clip. "'She’s the star of the show.’ He said, ‘Don’t make too much of a problem. I’m going to ask her not to spit in your face. But you have to keep your cool.’”
Upon seeing the previously unreleased footage, Brown said "That's racist, period.”



“That hit me really hard,” Hearne said. “To just be told you don’t matter in that moment you’re being spit on? And it’s like, this person matters more than you.”

Dan Schneider asked Giovannie Samuels for a "quote of support" before "Quiet on Set" was released
Samuels, who also appeared on Schneider's show "Henry Danger" after starring in "All That," recalled how Schneider contacted her ahead of the docuseries' premiere and asked if she would supply a quote of support for him. 
“I did come back to do [the series] ‘Henry Danger,’ which was some time later," Samuels said. "He was like, You had a good time on set, right?” she says. “I told him I was terrified of him. … I said, ‘You have the power to make people stars. And I was intimidated by you. I wanted to do a good job.”
Another "All That" alum came forward to share an inappropriate experience with Brian Peck
When asked by O'Brien why he elected to appear in "Breaking the Silence," former "All That" actor Shane Lyons said, "I think the only way we can change is to really evaluate the past. And I have some perspective to share on that and I felt like it was important."
Lyons went on to detail how Peck was a charismatic and charming member of the "All That" production, as an adult who was also a cast-member (Peck often played the role of "Pickle Boy" on the show.) Lyons also shared how "there were certainly some passes" made by the former Nickelodeon dialogue and acting coach, though he, then a young teenager, didn't realize it at the time. He recalled an incident in which Peck made a reference to "blue balls" to him, which he guilessly assumed was an allusion to racquetballs. 
“I just didn’t know what they were," Lyons told O'Brien. "And he goes, ‘Well, we know what blue balls are. Right, Shane? I said, ‘Yeah, like racquetballs. All right, I’m a kid. 13, 14. As I think back now, as an adult, as a 36-year-old, I would never have a conversation with a 13-year-old boy like he had with me. It makes absolutely zero sense.”

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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