Danielle Fishel claims a “creepy” male “Boy Meets World” executive told her he had a calendar photo of her at 16 years old hanging in his bedroom.
On her “Pod Meets World” podcast, the former child star — who was 12 when she was cast to play Topanga Lawrence in the coming-of-age sitcom — discussed being “an object of desire at such a young age” with her co-hosts and former castmates, Rider Strong and Will Friedle.
“I had people tell me they had my 18th birthday on their calendar,” she explained in last Thursday’s episode. “I had a male executive — I did a calendar [shoot] at 16 — and he specifically told me he had a certain calendar month in his bedroom.”
The actress, 42, recalled being initially taken aback by the uncomfortable admission but said her “immediate thought after that was: ‘Yes, because we are peers, and this is how you relate to peers.’
“As a kid, I always wanted to be older. I always wanted to be an adult. I wanted to be seen as an adult,” the married mother of two told her pals. “So getting adult male attention as a teenage girl felt like — I didn’t think of it as being creepy or weird.
“I felt like it was 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,” she went on. “And in hindsight, that is absolutely wrong.”
Strong, who played Shawn Hunter in the ABC series, vouched that Fishel was “very mature” and “very advanced” for her age, while Friedle, who portrayed Eric Matthews, described her as a “confident” teen.
Fishel agreed, adding, “I’ve always been able to hold a conversation with an adult. I can look you in the eye. I’ve always been those things.
“But in a romantic, male-gaze sense, I should not have been outwardly talked about at 14, 15, 16 years old. And I was, even directly to me.”
Fishel shared that her experience on the show, which ran for seven seasons from 1993 to 2000, “made [her] bad at [setting] boundaries” in her romantic relationships.
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“I had absolutely no expectations of how you’re supposed to talk to me, of how you’re supposed to treat me,” she said.
“I would stick it out for the sake of sticking it out because I didn’t want anyone to think I thought I was better than them or that they were not good enough for me.”
Fishel — who married Jensen Karp in November 2018 after her March 2016 divorce from Tim Belusko — noted that she hadn’t unpacked all those emotions until recently.
“I didn’t really process how it affected me as a teenager — or how it affected me in my 20s or even in my 30s — up until the last few years,” she explained, “and then I was really able to look back on it and connect the dots.”
Reps for ABC did not immediately respond to Page Six’s request for comment.
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