‘Boy Meets World’ Stars Share Their Stories About Brian Peck’s Predatory Behavior

Will Friedle, Rider Strong and Danielle Fishel explained how a stand-in actor gained their trust and turned it against them
‘Boy Meets World’ Stars Share Their Stories About Brian Peck’s Predatory Behavior

Every now and then, the coming-of-age sitcom Boy Meets World took on sensitive subject matter. Today, stars Rider Strong and Will Friedle delivered some of their most serious behind-the-scenes stories about the show on their rewatch podcast, Pod Meets World.

Between 1997 and 1999, actor and producer Brian Peck appeared in a small handful of episodes of Boy Meets World in both stand-in and supporting roles. Despite being at most a guest star whose on-screen impact on the show was mostly minimal, Peck ingratiated himself to stars Strong and Friedle, who played Shawn and Eric respectively. Very quickly, Peck became one of the closest confidants to Strong and Friedle, spending almost every day with the two teen stars despite being 20 years their senior. And, when Peck was tried and convicted for sexually abusing a 16-year-old Nickelodeon actor in 2004, Strong and Friedle attended his trial in support of their friend and even wrote letters to the presiding judge advocating for Peck’s character.

On this morning's episode of Pod Meets World, Strong, Friedle and co-star Danielle Fishel were joined by family therapist Kati Morton to discuss the first Boy Meets World episode featuring Peck. During the conversation, Strong and Friedle explained their relationship to the convicted pedophile and parsed through the impact that poor decisions from their youths still have on them over two decades later.

“All the years of having stand-ins, no one ever, do I remember, regularly went to lunch with the cast members,” Fishel began, saying of Peck. “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 continued, “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 says that Peck never attempted to form a deeper relationship with her, though he would quickly become one of her male co-stars’ closest friends.

Friedle explained, “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.” Friedle agreed with Fishel’s assessment of Peck, saying, “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.”

Strong also said that he and Peck hung out “all the time.”

Then, when Peck’s predatory behavior toward other child actors first began to surface in 2003, he immediately reached out to Friedle, “instantly spinning it to where it wasn’t his fault, it was clearly the fault of his victim.” Friedle said, “My instinct initially was, ‘My friend, this can’t be. It’s gotta be the other person’s fault.’ The story makes complete sense the way that he’s saying it.” Strong says that Peck’s description of events painted his 16-year-old accuser as the aggressor who sexually pursued the older actor and pressured Peck into falling for “jailbait.”

So, when Peck asked his younger friends to attend the trial in a show of support, they gladly agreed to help. “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 said. “I just sat there wanting to die. It was like, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ It was horrifying all the way around.” 

Friedle and Strong also wrote letters to the judge in support of Peck. “We weren’t told the whole story, but it doesn’t change the fact that we did it,” Friedle said of his and Strong’s participation in Peck’s defense. “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,” Friedle said. “And (Peck) turned us against the victim to where now we’re on his team. That’s the thing where, to me, I look back at that as my ever-loving shame.” The now-47-year-old actor continued, “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. 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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