On Wednesday, Aug. 12, singer Melissa Lingafelt, who goes by the name Jimi Ono, posted a TikTok video alleging that Drake Bell verbally and physically abused her over the course of their two and half year relationship. Now, Bell has denied all allegations of abuse against him in a statement issued to E! News.
"I never abused my ex-girlfriend or did so many of the other things Melissa falsely claimed on her TikTok video," Bell said in his statement. "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."
He continued, "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." Bustle reached out to Lingafelt for comment on Bell's statement, but did not receive an immediate response.
In her video, Lingafelt says she was 16 when she began dating Bell, and was home-schooled at the time. She explains that she moved in with the actor as she pursued her singing career, seemingly while she was under age. "First, I'd like to start off by saying I don't really care if anyone believes me as this is my story and my life and something that I went through," she says in the video. "It wasn't until recently that I actually realized that abuse isn't something that all women have to go through."
Lingafelt alleges that a year into their relationship, Bell began verbally abusing her. "Imagine the worst type of verbal abuse you could ever imagine and that was what I got," she says. "It then turned into physical — hitting, throwing, everything. At the pinnacle of it, he drug [sic] me down the stairs of our house in Los Feliz. My face hit every step on the way down."
The singer alleged that she "has photos of this," but did not include them in the video, which does feature photos of her with Bell at red carpet events and at home. Since posting her initial video, she has posted additional TikTok videos that feature alleged DMs from other women who appear to claim Bell also abused them. Though she has yet to respond to Bell's statement directly, she defended her TikTok video on Instagram.
"Everyone that really knows me and has been a friend of mine for the past 15 years, knows all too well of the abuse that Drake Bell put me through," she wrote on her Instagram Story Wednesday night. "I have so many witnesses, I have photos, it was my life." She concluded her message by writing, "I hope this gives girls the strength to come out about their experiences with him, because I know for a fact he has hundreds of victims."
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.