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Nickelodeon Directors Beth and Rich Correll Apologize for Supporting Brian Peck in Drake Bell Abuse Case: ‘We Are Saddened and Appalled’

Directors Beth and Rich Correll, whose letters defending Brian Peck in his court case against Drake Bell were made public in the recent “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” documentary, are apologizing.

“We extend our deepest apologies to Drake Bell and his family, and we deeply regret our decision many years ago to request leniency for someone who we later learned had committed a horrible crime and caused so much pain and trauma to Drake and others. If we had known the truth at the time the letters were written, we never would have written them,” the Corrells said in an exclusive statement to Variety. “There are no words to express how awful we feel for being on the wrong side of a horrific situation and the trauma it caused you, Drake. We are devastated that we unwittingly supported the unsupportable.”

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Their statement continues, “Our biggest priority having worked on many sets throughout the years was the safety of children. We would never knowingly put any child in danger. We are saddened and appalled to hear all the in-depth details following the release of ‘Quiet on the Set.’ Children must be protected and should always be in a safe environment…both at work and at home. Drake, you are in our hearts, we are proud of your bravery, and we hope that now you are able to heal. Again, we are so sorry.”

Among their many credits, the Corrells worked on multiple episodes of “The Amanda Show,” “All That” and “Drake & Josh.”

During ID’s documentary, Bell came forward for the first time revealing that he was the minor who accused acting coach Brian Peck of sexual abuse. Peck was arrested in 2003, served 16 months in prison and was ordered to register as a sex offender. Beth and Rich Correll were two of more than 40 people who wrote character letters for Peck, many of whom were revealed during the doc. In their letter, Rich Correll wrote that it would be a pleasure to work with Peck again — and did so.

After his release from prison, Peck landed a job on Disney Channel’s “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.” Rich and Beth Correll worked as director and second AD, respectively, on 55 episodes of the kids show; the pair told the producers of the doc that they had no input or involvement in Peck’s casting and that when they asked him about the case, “Mr. Peck simply replied that ‘the problem had been resolved.’” Peck performed voiceover work on three episodes of “Suite Life,” but Variety confirms he was never on set and had zero interactions with cast or crew. Once Disney Channel learned of his conviction, he was immediately terminated and replaced.

After the doc’s release, Nickelodeon gave the following statement regarding Bell: “Now that Drake Bell has 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.”

They also responded to the many claims made against producer Dan Schneider, who has also since released a response and apology. “Though we cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviors from productions decades ago, Nickelodeon as a matter of policy investigates all formal complaints as part of our commitment to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct,” the network stated. “Our highest priorities are the well-being and best interests not just of our employees, casts and crew, but of all children, and we have adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to our own high standards and the expectations of our audience.”

Bell, in turn, said he felt the network’s statements were “pretty empty.”

“They still show our shows, they still put our shows on, and I have to pay for my own therapy,” he said on “The Sarah Fraser Show” podcast following the doc’s release. “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.”

Peck has not responded to Variety’s request for comment.

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