‘Manipulator’: ‘Boy Meets World’ Stars Open Up About Friendship With Actor Later Convicted Of Child Molestation

“Boy Meets World” stars Rider Strong, Will Friedle, and Danielle Fishel opened up about the friendship they had at one point with actor Brian Peck, who was later convicted of child molestation.

During their “Pod Meets World” podcast on Monday, Strong and Friedle said they were manipulated by Peck — who was accused in 2003 of molesting a child and pleaded no contest to the charges. He was later convicted and spent 16 months behind bars, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Strong and Friedle were young stars when they met Peck, who was in his 40s when he showed up to work with them during a two-episode arc on the popular ABC sitcom in 1997.

They admitted Peck befriended them and the boys started hanging out with the older actor — not just on the set but outside of work too.

Peck was a known gay man and Fishel speculated that parents of young kids might’ve given him a “pass” and didn’t say anything about the older man hanging out with their children because they didn’t want to be seen as homophobic, “instead of, ‘This is a boundary, gay or not. This is a boundary between adults and kids.'”

Both Strong and Friedle said they are still reeling from how they said Peck ended up getting them to be on the “abuser’s side” to support him in court against the child molestation charges. 

“He didn’t say that nothing had happened,” Strong said. “So by the time we heard about this case and knew anything about it, it was always in the context of, ‘I did this thing, I am guilty. I am going to take whatever punishment the government determines, but I’m a victim of jailbait. There was this hot guy, I just did this thing and he’s underage.'”

“And we bought that storyline,” Strong added. “I never heard about the other things because, back then, you couldn’t Google to find out what people were being charged with. So in retrospect, he was making a plea deal and admitting one thing, which is all he admitted to us, but it looks like he was being charged with a series of crimes, which we did not know.”

The two stars even went so far as to write letters to the judge to defend their pal, something that the victim’s mom called Peck and them out in court.

“‘Look at all the famous people you brought with you, and it doesn’t change what you did to my kid,'” Friedle said, recalling the moment, while he said he “just sat there wanting to die.”

“It was like, ‘What the hell am I doing here?'” he added. “It was horrifying all the way around. We weren’t told the whole story, but it doesn’t change the fact that we did it. I still can’t get the words out to describe all of the things that I’m feeling inside of myself.”

“There’s an actual victim here, and he turned us against the victim to where now we’re on his team,” Friedle added. “That’s the thing where, to me, I look back at that as my ever-loving shame for this entire [thing].”

“Getting taken in by somebody who’s a good actor and a manipulator, I could chalk that up to being young and that’s the way it is,” Friedle continued. “It’s awful. I’m going to use that for my growth as a human being, but when there’s an actual victim involved and now I’m on the abuser’s side, that’s the thing I can’t get over and haven’t been able to get over.”

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