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Ariana Grande questioned over ‘silence’ on Nickelodeon abuse scandal by The View’s Sunny Hostin

The View hosts debated whether Ariana Grande’s “silence” on the Nickelodeon abuse scandal made her “complicit” during Friday’s (22 March) episode.

In a new docuseries, Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, which began streaming in the US on 17 March, former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell came forward with his allegations of sexual abuse, which he says he suffered aged 15.

The Drake & Josh actor alleged that he was a victim of abuse at the hands of Brian Peck, who worked as a dialogue coach on Nickelodeon’s All That and The Amanda Show.

The programme also included allegations against former Nickelodeon executive producer Dan Schneider, who left the network in 2018 following a ViacomCBS investigation that deemed he committed verbal abuse on set, but found no evidence of sexual misconduct. He has since spoken out about the claims made in the documentary, acknowledging that he found it “very difficult” to watch as he faced his “past behaviours – some of which are embarrassing and that I regret”.

Pop superstar Grande shot to fame as a child actor on Nickelodeon playing Hollywood Arts student Cat Valentine on Victorious and its spinoff Sam & Cat.

Grande has yet to comment publicly on the scandal and – at the time of writing – she still follows Schneider on Instagram.

Ariana Grande (left) and Sunny Hostin (Getty Images)
Ariana Grande (left) and Sunny Hostin (Getty Images)

On The View, Hostin said: “I often tell people, if you’re a true ally, if something is happening in a room, if you see it happening to me ... a true ally says, at that moment, ‘Don’t do that, you shouldn’t do that.’”

Sara Haines pushed back: “Just to clarify, these were kids when this all happened,” to which Hostin replied: “They were kids, but I’m saying it applies kind of universally. They shouldn’t have to be, as adults, bullied to speak out and support someone.”

Addressing Grande directly, the hosts agreed it was unclear whether the singer had witnessed any abusive behaviour while at the kids’ TV network. “But, she is an adult now, so is silence complicity or not?” Hostin asked.

The Independent has contacted Grande’s representatives for comment.

Yesterday, Bell’s Drake & Josh co-star Josh Peck broke his silence on the scandal after facing widespread criticism for staying quiet on the matter.

“I finished the Quiet On Set documentary and took a few days to process it,” his statement on social media read. “I reached out to Drake privately, but wanted to give my support for the survivors who were brave enough to share their stories of emotional and physical abuse on Nickelodeon sets with the world.”

He continued: “Children should be protected. 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.”

The statement came after Bell asked fans to “take it easy” on Peck.

“I just want to clear something up,” Bell said in a video. “I’ve noticed a lot of comments on some of Josh’s TikToks and some of his posts and I just want to let you guys know that processing this and going through this is a really emotional time and a lot of it is very, very difficult.”

The actor continued: “So not everything is put out to the public, but I just want you guys to know that he [Peck] has reached out to me, and it’s been very sensitive.

“But he has reached out to talk with me and help me work through this and has been really, really great. So I just wanted to let you guys know that and to take it a little easy on him.”

In August 2003, Brian Peck, who is not related to Josh, was arrested on more than a dozen charges related to sexual abuse allegations involving an unnamed minor.

A year later, he pleaded no contest to performing a lewd act with a 14 or 15-year-old and to oral copulation with a minor under 16. Brian Peck was sentenced to 16 months in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender in October 2004.

Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV is currently streaming on Max in the US. It will premiere on Discovery+ in the UK on 25 March.

If you are a child and you need help because something has happened to you, you can call the NSPCC free of charge on 0800 1111. You can also call the NSPCC if you are an adult and you are worried about a child, on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers support for adults on 0808 801 0331.