What Happened To James Marsden? The Quiet On Set Controversy, Explained

What Happened To James Marsden? The Quiet On Set Controversy, Explained


The following article includes references to child abuse.

James Marsden was riding a high in his career after playing a silly, fictionalized version of himself on "Jury Duty." Now, his public perception has taken a total 180 after a revelation from the disturbing new Max docuseries, "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV." The show predominantly reveals the uncomfortable situations and downright abuse many child actors suffered while working on various Nickelodeon shows, including "All That" and "The Amanda Show." While a great deal of attention is on Dan Schneider, who created many shows for the network, the docuseries also draws attention to convicted sex offender Brian Peck.

What does this have to do with James Marsden? When Peck went to trial, a startling number of people wrote letters of support to the judge requesting leniency. Among them were many famous names, including the late Alan Thicke, Taran Killam, and James Marsden. The "X-Men" star was likely the most famous of the bunch, and numerous individuals are now so disappointed that Marsden supported a sexual predator, with @kristen_siebs writing on X , formerly known as Twitter, "[I've] been disappointed in many men in my life, nothing has compared to how disappointed i am in james marsden."

Marsden's letter states that the actor had known Peck for 14 years prior to the trial. As shown in the docuseries, he wrote, "I assure you, what Brian has been through in the last year is the suffering of a hundred men." At the time of writing, the actor has yet to comment on his letter.


Drake Bell said no one who wrote a letter for Brian Peck has apologized to him

What Happened To James Marsden? The Quiet On Set Controversy, Explained


James Marsden writing a letter of support for Brian Peck was not public knowledge until the people behind "Quiet on Set" petitioned the court to release the letters. Watching the docuseries would've been the first most people would've known about any of the letters existing, including Drake Bell. While Peck's victim's identity was kept a secret from the public when the trial happened 20 years ago, Bell came forward on "Quiet on Set" to discuss what he allegedly did to him.

Following the show's release, Bell spoke on "The Sarah Fraser Show" to talk about the issue. "I haven't gotten an apology, or a sorry, from anybody that had written letters, or was involved in supporting him at all," he revealed. Bell also clarified he didn't know about the letters and mentioned how some of the people who supported Peck wound up working on the Nickelodeon series "Drake & Josh," which ended after four seasons. "I thought I was safe," he discussed. "I thought, okay, I thought I got rid of, the cancer has been carved out, we're better now. And I had no idea that for four years, I was working alongside people who had supported him."

Peck pled no contest and served 16 months for abusing a minor. As if the letters of support weren't shocking enough, "Quiet on Set" also discussed how after Peck's release, he was still able to work on another children's program, "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," on the Disney Channel.


Social media has turned against James Marsden in light of his letter

What Happened To James Marsden? The Quiet On Set Controversy, Explained


As of this writing, James Marsden has not provided a public explanation for why he wrote the letter or issued an apology to Drake Bell for supporting his abuser. However, two other notable names who wrote letters of support for Brian Peck have since commented on the situation. On their podcast, "Pod Meets World." former "Boy Meets World" actors Rider Strong and Will Friedle expressed remorse for that decision.  "In telling me what happened and instantly spinning it to where it wasn't his fault, [but] was clearly the fault of his victim, my initial instinct because of the years I'd been [working] with him was, 'Well yeah, of course, it can't be you," Friedle said. On the other hand, it doesn't sound as though he and Strong reached out personally to the actual victim in light of Bell's statement.

With no word from Marsden, many on social media have criticized the actor, letting their disappointment be known. X user @DaCandyDandy posted, "Seeing why james marsden is trending," next to a GIF of Wolverine punching Cyclops — the character Marsden played in the "X-Men" movies — in the stomach. Others, like @MediumSizeMeech, can't believe the actor still hasn't said anything: "Reading that letter James Marsden wrote for Brian Peck… and his team knowing this exposé was coming out and still not saying anything—shocking." 

Given those reactions, it'll seemingly be an unwelcome addition for many if Marsden does wind up reprising Cyclops in "Deadpool 3."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.


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