Boy Meets World stars slam boss for 'toxic work environment'

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Photo credit: JC Olivera - Getty Images
Photo credit: JC Olivera - Getty Images

Boy Meets World stars have claimed the '90's TV show was a toxic environment for the young actors.

Stars Danielle Fishel (who played Topanga Lawrence), Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter) and Will Friedle (Eric Matthews), were joined on the Pod Meets World podcast by series director David Trainer where Fishel described how she was humiliated by the show's creator on set.

She said that Michael Jacobs threatened to fire her on her first day and embarrassed her in front of the cast and crew on their very initial day of rehearsals.

"Michael starts off the notes by saying: 'Danielle, I'm going to give you your notes all at one time, at the end, and I'm going to give everyone else their notes now, because if I made everyone sit here through all of the notes I had for you, we would all be here for hours and no one would ever get to go home. So you're just going to wait for the end.'

Photo credit: ABC Photo Archives - Getty Images
Photo credit: ABC Photo Archives - Getty Images

"From that moment on, my eyes welled up because you know, I'm now in front of everybody – all the producers, all the writers, all the cast, and all eyes are on me for a second."

The actress then opened up about how he called her mother down from the audience where he went through every single issue, which they spent hours into the night perfecting.

The actress noted that talking about it all these years later still made her feel anxious and sweaty.

"What I know specifically was said is: 'All I know is, if you don't come back tomorrow doing this entirely differently, you are also not going to be here,' referencing the girl I had replaced."

Series director Trainer said that Jacobs' way of working made him "hate it ultimately" and that hearing what Fishel says she went through made him "pissed".

Photo credit: JC Olivera - Getty Images
Photo credit: JC Olivera - Getty Images

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"I worked for Michael for years on multiple shows. This is a hateful story," he said. "There's many wonderful things about him, but there's hateful things. This is one. To hear this, you're sweating? I'm really pissed. It's enough to make me want to sign off of this podcast. I don't want to be associated with anything that guy is associated with. This is just not how you do things. I'm glad it became a hit, but this is disgusting."

However, Daniele notes that after the second day of rehearsals Jacob praised her for taking on board the comments, recalling him saying: "Let's give Danielle a round of applause, you did exactly what I asked of you. Thank you, thank you. Congratulations, it was wonderful."

She continued: "He gave me some praise about some specific things and then he started notes. There were no more threats of being fired, I had done the work and I had shown him that I was worthy."

Many stars of the hit '90s show went on to be part of the spin-off Girl Meets World, which followed Topanga and Cory's daughter Riley as she found her place in the world. The spin-off series was cancelled in 2017.

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