On August 12th, Melissa Lingafelt, ex-girlfriend of former Nickelodeon star, Drake Bell, took to Tik Tok to share her story of alleged verbal and physical abuse that she endured during the course of their three-year relationship.
Posting on an account linked to her stage name, @JimiOno, the singer & actress discussed her dark experiences with Bell, beginning with outlining the morally questionable start of their relationship in 2006:
“I was 16 and homeschooled. I moved in with him…It wasn’t until about a year when the verbal abuse started…it then turned to physical—hitting, throwing, everything,” Lingafelt claimed. “At the pinnacle of it, he drug [sic] me down the stairs of our house on Los Feliz. My face hit every step on the way down. I have photos of this.”
Lingafelt didn’t provide photos of the incident, opting to instead share red carpet photos and flip through a photo album containing pictures of herself and Bell. As for details of the alleged verbal abuse, the singer asked her Tik Tok audience to “imagine the worst type of verbal abuse you could ever imagine and that was what I got.”
so we are all in agreement that drake bell is cancelled ? pic.twitter.com/lGXflL5ota
— ☀︎︎𝚜𝚔𝚢☀︎︎ (@sskyylaar) August 13, 2020
At the end of the video, Lingafelt alluded to Bell being a pedophile stating “I don’t even want to get into the underage girls thing… I mean I will, but I’m scared.” Bell was 20 years old when he began dating then 16-year-old Melissa.
Fan reaction was swift. Many former bell fans cited his history of bad behavior—which includes DUIs, onstage temper outbursts, and the many many instances of Bell being a general jerk to fans and costars—as evidence that Melissa is telling the truth.
lol throwback to when drake bell got pissed at my high school and violently threw a ball into the crowd pic.twitter.com/g8MNHO1a0S
— 𝖑𝖆𝖙𝖙𝖙☔️ (@21blndie) August 13, 2020
Others cautioned against people rushing to judgment and potentially derailing Bell’s most recent attempt at a career comeback based solely on unsubstantiated claims in a struggling singer’s Tik Tok video.
So people are cancelling Drake Bell because of a short TikTok by his ex? There's no proof of these allegations. I'm gonna sit on the fence and wait for some definitive proof or legal action. Can't tell if this will be another Slazo, Toby Turner, or Johnny Depp thing or naw
— snow ||🌈They⚧️ (@FacelessSnow) August 13, 2020
To the critics of #CancelDrakeBell, the whole situation was too close to the backlash Johnny Depp received after Amber Heard’s op-ed for the Washington post wherein Heard accused Depp of nightmarish spousal abuse. The accusations saw fans and fellow celebs to write Depp off as a drug-addicted woman abuser and cost Depp his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.
A year later, audio clips of a phone conversation between Depp and Heard were leaked online which included recordings of Heard verbally abusing Depp and admitting to physically assaulting him. Depp also accused heard of nearly severing the tip of his middle finger during a violent encounter over a prenuptial agreement, an allegation Heard denies. In the leaked clip, Heard states that couldn’t promise that she wouldn’t get physical again.
“God, I f*cking sometimes get so mad I lose it.”- Amber Heard.
Yesterday, representatives for Bell released a statement denying the accusations of abuse:
“I never abused my ex-girlfriend or did so many of the other things Melissa falsely claimed on her TikTok video. As our relationship ended — more than a decade ago — we, unfortunately, both called each other terrible names, as often happens when couples are breaking up. But that is it. Clearly, Melissa still felt close enough to me just last year that she was comfortable reaching out to ask me to provide her with financial support during a tough time (which I did). I do not know if today’s behavior is some kind of misguided quest for more money or attention. But I cannot and will not allow these offensive and defamatory allegations to go unchallenged and I am reviewing my legal options.”