Drake Bell got real about why he shared his sexual assault story for the first time.

In a new interview on The Sarah Fraser Show podcast, the 37-year-old actor opened up about why he decided to participate in the documentary Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV to talk about the sexual abuse he experienced. Understandably, Drake had been “cautious” about doing the doc. Not only because he would be discussing some painful trauma, but he had been approached about doing another documentary in the past. When he declined the offer, the response, as Drake put it, was “unbelievable.” He recalled:

“In the email, they said that people like me were the problem, and this is why things aren’t gonna change in the industry because people like you won’t speak out and won’t come forward. It was just all this shaming of me not wanting to be a part of their documentary. So I’ve always been cautious and on edge whenever approached to talk about such a sensitive topic.”

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What the f**k?! He later began to receive inquiries about Quiet on Set. At first, the singer was reluctant to respond and participate. However, one of the directors, Emma Schwartz, changed his mind. Drake said she was “very sensitive” and he “could tell she was coming from a genuine place” in their interactions over email.

They eventually met in person in Los Angeles. During their meeting, Drake remembered feeling “really comfortable.” But The Amanda Show alum also had been “going through so much in my personal life” that he knew he needed to get help before he could even consider continuing with the project. Shorting after meeting with Emma, Drake said he checked into rehab to process the trauma he went through:

“I was going through so much in my personal life and after that interview I ended up checking myself into rehab. We were going through a lot of trauma therapy, a lot of group therapy, a lot of one-on-one therapy — your entire day was filled with working through and processing this with a clear mind, and unearthing all of these things that I hadn’t faced head-on, or if I had tried to, it was too painful.”

Once Drake left rehab, he became more open to the idea of telling his story for the first time. He continued:

“And so through that process, once I got out, I thought to myself, ‘Maybe this is a good time to reach back out to them and say hey, I’m not 100% yet, let’s talk some more, but I’m getting closer to feeling comfortable with finally sharing my story.’”

As we know, Drake did bravely share that he was sexually assaulted, revealing he was the previously unidentified victim of Nickelodeon dialogue coach and convicted child molester Brian Peck. The Drake & Josh alum was not the only victim to come forward. Others also spoke out about the emotional abuse and sexualization child stars faced at the hands of Dan Schneider. In response to the revelations, Nickelodeon released a statement saying:

“Now that Drake Bell had disclosed his identity as the plaintiff in the 2004 case, we are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward.”

Drake’s thoughts on their response? He was not impressed. In fact, he finds the statement “pretty empty”:

“There’s a very well-tailored response saying, ‘Learning about his trauma,’ because they couldn’t say that they didn’t know about this or what had happened, or anything. So I think that was a really well-tailored response by probably some big attorney in Hollywood. I find it pretty empty, their responses, because, I mean, they still show our shows, they still put our shows on. And I have to pay for my own therapy, I have to figure out what – I mean if there was anything, if there was any truth behind them actually caring, there would be something more than quotes on a page by obviously a legal representative telling them exactly how to tailor a response.”

Oof. We continue to send Drake strength and healing energy after opening up about such a difficult topic like this. Watch the full interview (below):

Thoughts, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image via Investigation Discovery/YouTube]