Former Child Stars Speak Out About Their Past Experiences for the First Time

blog image

Former Child Stars Speak: Learning about the hardships that the young actors in our beloved children’s television shows went through, frequently giving up their childhoods so that we may enjoy ours, makes the nostalgia for those shows swiftly disappear. The documentary “I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy sought to expose the darker side of children’s television almost two years after the film’s harrowing revelations.

 

 

According to HuffPost’s Jazmin Tolliver, Investigation Discovery revealed a sneak peek at its upcoming four-part documentary series “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” on Tuesday. According to the preview, Drake Bell, who was a child actor and former star of the hit Nickelodeon sitcom “Drake & Josh,” will talk about the allegations of abuse he made against Brian Peck.

In a press statement, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that Drake Bell will be publicly sharing, “for the first time,” the narrative of the abuse he endured at the hands of Brian Peck, his former dialogue coach. Peck was convicted in 2004 for his crimes against Drake and required to register as a sex offender. (HuffPost’s request for comment from Bell’s counsel was not immediately responded to.)

However, “Quiet on Set” is about more than just Bell. The documentary series “uncovers the toxic and dangerous culture behind some of the most iconic children’s shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s” and “pulls back the curtain on an empire, built by creator Dan Schneider, that had an undeniable grip on popular culture,” as stated in the brief summary.

Alyson Stoner, who once starred on Disney Channel and made an appearance on “Drake & Josh,” has been fighting for the rights of child actors for quite some time. Stoner, who goes by they/them pronouns, is known for her roles in “Cheaper by the Dozen,” the “Step Up” films, and Missy Elliott’s “Work It” music video. They have also starred in “Phineas and Ferb,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” “That’s So Raven,” and “Camp Rock.”

Stoner wrote about “narrowly” making it through the “toddler-to-trainwreck” pipeline in an opinion piece that appeared in People magazine in 2021. They pleaded with both consumers and industry stakeholders to “revisit the script,” reminding us to be aware of the potential detrimental effects of youth exposure to the spotlight.

They expressed their hope that “honest conversation and collaborative action” may help end child abuse in the present moment.

As they grow up, former child stars are discovering new ways to reflect on their careers through mediums like podcasts. Reed Alexander, who portrayed Nevel Papperman on “iCarly,” was a journalist who covered the success of the audio startup PodCo in May 2023. PodCo allowed former child stars to return to their followers and viewers by discussing a wide range of issues.

Christy Carlson Romano, husband of Brendan Rooney, and star of “Even Stevens” created PodCo to host podcasts with guests from shows like “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” and the revived “Wizards of Waverly Place.”

“Even More Stevens” and “Vulnerable,” hosted by Romano on PodCo, allow guests to discuss “challenges of being a former child actor — from mental health to personal finance,” as Alexander put it. In 2022, Romano interviewed Stoner for “Vulnerable” and asked about the effects of acting on Stoner’s genuine identity and the process of recovery for young performers.

All of this makes one wonder: shouldn’t child acting be outright forbidden?


avatar
Sophia Johnson

Sophia's talent for weaving captivating narratives of fashion personalities and her knack for breaking fashion news make her a trusted voice in the industry.

Read more