On Monday’s episode of the “Pod Meets World” podcast, Friedle recalled a wildly inappropriate on-set incident that occurred in 1995 during Season 3 of the family-friendly ABC sitcom.
Friedle co-hosts the retrospective podcast about “Boy Meets World” with his former co-stars, Danielle Fishel and Rider Strong, and on Monday’s episode they walked down memory lane with their guest, Steve Hoefer, who was the stage manager on the show.
About 38 minutes into the episode, Friedle made it a point to thank Hoefer for creating a “safe, open environment” on set for the very young actors. In 1995, Friedle was 19 years old, Strong was 16, and Fishel and the show’s lead, Ben Savage, were around 14.
“If there was anything on the set that I had a problem with — and that was rare — you were always my go-to guy,” Friedle told Hoefer.
This prompted Strong to remind Friedle of “a very specific story about Steve” that Friedle had told him in the past.
Friedle then recalled the incident, explaining that it involved an unnamed male crew member, Fishel and Savage.
“I walked out and Danielle and Ben were … I wouldn’t say talking to this person, I’d say this person was talking to them,” Friedle began. “And he was having a very, very in-depth conversation about how to receive oral pleasure outside of a night club. To Danielle and Ben — I think Danielle was 14 at the time. I went right to [Steve].”
He continued: “I was like, ‘Steve, this is not good, this guy is bad news.’ You’re like, ‘Which one?’ and I just pointed him out. Never saw the guy again. It was just that fast.”
In response to the story, Hoefer said that he had forgotten about the incident but remembered it clearly again now that Friedle had brought it up.
Fishel, however, admitted that she has “no memory of it at all.”
Fishel’s failure to recollect this specific incident may be due to other “creepy” experiences she says she’s had with older men on set throughout the show’s seven-season run.
In June, during another episode of “Pod Meets World,” Fishel opened up about how male crew members insinuated their sexual attraction to her as a teen.
“I had people tell me they had my 18th birthday on their calendar,” she said of the crew. “I had a male executive — I did a calendar at 16 — and he specifically told me he had a certain calendar month in his bedroom. And at the time, my first thought was a little bit like, ‘Oh.’ But the immediate thought after that was, ‘Yes, because we are peers, and this is how you relate to peers.’”
Fishel also explained why she had that “immediate thought” after the executive made this crude comment to her.
“As a kid, I always wanted to be older,” Fishel said. “I wanted to be an adult, I wanted to be seen as an adult, so getting adult male attention as a teenage girl … I didn’t think of it as being creepy or weird.”
She added: “It felt like validation that I was mature, and I was an adult, and I was capable. And that they were seeing me the way I was, not for the number on a page. And in hindsight, that is absolutely wrong.”