‘Boy Meets World’ stars discuss actor Brian Peck’s sexual abuse case

Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel, and Will Friedle attend the 2022 iHeartRadio Wango Tango at Dignity Health Sports Park on June 04, 2022 in Carson, California. (Credit: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Stars of the hit television series "Boy Meets World," addressed their complicated connection with guest star and convicted sexual abuser Brian Peck on the latest podcast episode of "Pod Meets World." 

During the Feb. 19 podcast, Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong and Will Friedle joined family therapist Katie Morton for an honest and open discussion about Brian Peck – a Season 5 guest star on "Boy Meets World" in 1997, who was accused of molesting a child in 2003. 

Subsequently, Peck was convicted of a lewd act against a child and oral copulation of a person under 16. He spent 16 months in prison after being charged with eight counts of sexual abuse.

"To say this came as a shock to us at the time would have been an understatement," Fishel, who starred as Topanga on the series, said during the introduction of the podcast. "We saw no signs of this behavior and were not victimized ourselves and were constantly being told by this person, who was our friend, that he was the actual victim."


Will Friedle, Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong and Matthew Lawrence (l-r) star in "Boy Meets World." (Credit: Craig Sjodin/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

The former childhood stars said they were recently contacted for a statement about Peck, likely for an upcoming docuseries by Investigation Discovery called "Quiet on Set," which details alleged abuse that took place on multiple Nickelodeon productions.

"I didn’t go to parties. I didn’t really do that stuff," Friedle, who played Eric on the show, explained. "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.' This was the type of thing where the person he presented was this great, funny guy who was really good at his job, and you wanted to hang out with … I saw him every day, hung out with him every day, talked to him every day." 

He added: "I look back at that now as an adult, and it makes me want to cry that I ever was that naive."

Fishel, 42, speculated that Peck’s sexuality as a gay man may have allowed him to spend more time with Strong, who played Shawn, and Friedle without being questioned.

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"Additionally, he was gay and the young cast members didn’t care. The other adults on set, who maybe could have or should have said, ‘Why are you guys going to lunch with this guy?’ ‘Why is this guy going to Rider’s house for a party?’ 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.

When Peck was charged, he asked Strong and Friedle to support him in court.

"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 continued. "I just sat there wanting to die. It was like, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ It was horrifying all the way around."

While Friedle said he hasn’t seen Peck in two decades, he said he still struggles with his decision to support Peck.

"We weren’t told the whole story, but it doesn’t change the fact that we did it," Friedle said, adding, "I still can’t get the words out to describe all of the things that I’m feeling inside of myself."

Toward the end of the episode, Strong admitted being "so uncomfortable" doing the episode.

"I still feel like we should not be ruining this man’s life more. I still feel that. I think there’s a lot of layers to that. It just makes me so uncomfortable," he shared.

The group hopes the episode can educate listeners about grooming and manipulation, and help those who feel victimized feel supported. 

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).