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'Boy Meets World' stars detail grooming and manipulation by guest star convicted of child sex abuse
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'Boy Meets World' stars detail grooming and manipulation by guest star convicted of child sex abuse

Will Friedle and Rider Strong, along with "Boy Meets World" co-star Danielle Fishel, explained that they had a strange relationship with a former guest star on the show who was later convicted of sex offenses.

On the group's podcast "Pod Meets World," the trio discussed "the difficult subjects of grooming, childhood sexual abuse and their effects on victims," alongside a family therapist.

Friedle and Strong particularly recalled the relationship they had with actor Brian Peck ("X-Men," "Living Dead") who was convicted of sexually abusing a minor a few years after the ABC sitcom ended in 2004.

According to TMZ, Peck was accused of molesting an unidentified Nickelodeon child actor and took a plea deal to reduce his sentence, which ended up being a reported 16 months.

Friedle explained that he became close with Peck soon after joining the show. Friedle played Eric Matthews, with his real life age ranging between 16-23 years old during the course of the show's seven-year run.

"I didn’t really go to parties. I didn’t really do that stuff. But I was working a lot after ‘Boy Meets World,’ and this guy had so ingratiated himself into my life, I took him to three shows after 'Boy Meets World.'"

Strong, who played Shawn Hunter and was between 13-20 during the show, said he and Peck "hung out all the time," Variety reported, despite there being a near 20-year age difference.

Fishel, who was Topanga Lawrence on the show, did not spend as much time with Peck during her time as a 12-19-year-old actress.

"All the years of having stand-ins, no one ever, do I remember, regularly went to lunch with the cast members. But this person did and part of that’s because, when they arrived on set, they were extremely charming. They were very personable. They had a lot of jokes," she explained.

"They also, because of their many years of experience working in the entertainment industry, knew other, very successful, famous kids and young men and regularly talked about them."

Fishel also said that other adults refrained from questioning why the young actors were "going to lunch" or going to Strong's house "for a party" with Peck likely out of fear of appearing homophobic, due to Peck being gay.

"There was probably a part of them that didn’t say it because they were afraid it was going to be taken as homophobia, instead of, ‘This is a boundary, gay or not. This is a boundary about adults and kids,'" Fishel said. "I also think that’s important in the story of Rider and Will, about why he befriended the two of you so closely. And I did have lunch with him a couple of times, but only because someone else would invite me … He didn’t really make an effort to get to know me. He didn’t ingratiate himself as much into my life. I never heard from him again after the show ended," she added.

Peck also appeared in a 1999 episode of the show, when Friedle and Strong would have been adult-aged.

When Peck was accused in 2003, he reportedly called Friedle crying while "instantly spinning it to where it wasn’t his fault, it was clearly the fault of his victim," a 16-year-old male.

Feeling indebted to Peck after helping him get a movie role, Friedle agreed, along with Strong, to write letters to a judge in support of Peck.

"We’re sitting in that courtroom on the wrong side of everything … The victim’s mother turned and said, ‘Look at all the famous people you brought with you. And it doesn’t change what you did to my kid,'" Friedle recalled. "I just sat there wanting to die. It was like, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ It was horrifying all the way around."

Strong then detailed that he saw Peck years later at a party and finally realized he peddled "nonsense" by constantly referencing famous people who he thought "validate him and put him in a category of Hollywood royalty."

"He did that constantly when we were on the set of 'Boy Meets World' and I never saw it because it was so effortless. Here I was like at this party and I had to leave, I was so freaked the f*** out."

According to Variety, Friedle and Strong were contacted for a statement about Peck, likely for an upcoming docuseries called "Quiet on Set," investigating alleged abuse on Nickelodeon sets. Peck did not return the outlet's request for comment.

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.

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