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Disney Channel Stars Recall Defending Convicted Sex Offender

Boy Meets World Child Molestor
Credit: Disney

WARNING: The following article mentions and/or discusses topics that may be distressing for certain audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

The late 1990s and early 2000s were a really great time to be a Disney Channel fan. The channel was full of incredible kids’ TV shows like Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, Hannah Montana, The Wizards of Waverly Place, and so many more. And one of the biggest shows of that time was Boy Meets World. The show starred Ben Savage as Cory Matthews and told the story of the adventures he had with his family and friends as he grew up.

It’s been nearly 25 years since Boy Meets World aired a new episode, but its stars are back in the spotlight. Danielle Fishel, who played Topanga Lawrence, Will Friedle, who played Eric Matthews, and Rider Strong, who played Shawn Hunter, recently started a new podcast, Pod Meets World. In their podcast, they talk about their time on the show, how things have changed, and even have special guests.

Pod Meets World

Credit: Pod Meets World

Related: Boy Meets World Star Says Talking About On-Set Racism Made Former Cast Closer

In one of the more recent episodes, the three talked about a very dark time in their lives. It was when they openly defended Brian Peck. Peck was an actor who was accused of child molestation in 2003. He pled no contest and was sentenced to 16 months in prison. Before his arrest, Peck was a guest star in many hit children’s shows, including Growing Pains, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, All That, and Kenan & Kel.

At the time of his trial, Friedle, Fishel, and Strong all defended Peck. However, looking back on it, they realized that the convicted child molester had “groomed” them and manipulated them into thinking he was a good person and an innocent victim.

Brian Peck Boy Meets World

Credit: Disney

Friedle said:

“I was working a lot after Boy Meets World, and this guy had so ingrained 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.”

“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.”

Boy Meets World

Credit: Disney

Strong agreed, saying that Peck always painted himself as someone who was guilty, but also a victim.

“He didn’t say that nothing had happened. 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. 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.”

Boy meets World

Credit: Disney

Fishel speculated that Peck was given a “pass” by parents because he was gay. She said that parents might have feared being labeled as “homophobic” if they voiced concerns about Peck hanging out with their young children.

Boy Meets World star turned adult film star, Maitland Ward, said that she always had a bad feeling about Peck. When asked, she said Peck inserted himself into the group, specifically trying to get close to Will Friedle and Rider Strong. After the accusations came out, she understood why he had done that. But, at the time, he made her feel like she was just jealous that he was getting close to certain cast members.

Boy Meets World

Credit: Disney

Related: 90s Kids Rejoice! Boy Meets World Stars Are Starting a Podcast

Fishel, Friedle, and Strong ended the podcast by saying that they hoped that, by speaking about grooming and childhood sexual abuse, they could help someone else see the signs before it’s too late.

You can click here to listen to the Pod Meets World podcast.

If you or someone you know is the victim of sexual abuse, there is help available. You can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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