Danielle Fishel Says There Was a Salary Disparity Between Her and the ‘Boy Meets World’ Co-Stars
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Danielle Fishel opens up about the pay disparity between her and her « Boy Meets World » co-stars during the hit sitcom’s early years.
During a recent episode of “Pod Meets World” — a “Boy Meets World” rewatch podcast hosted by Fishel and former co-stars Rider Strong and Will Friedle — Fishel reflected on how much less she was paid when she had been fired for the first time from a recurring role on a series regular in the show’s second season.
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« If you knew about the pay disparity, even after I became a regular on the show, and it was still – the excuse that was used was ‘Well, we didn’t know you’d be on the show. We weren’t expecting you,” Fishel reminded co-hosts and special guest Lauren Lapkus.
While Fishel’s character Topanga has become a fixture in pop culture consciousness, her character was not part of the show’s plan from the start. As such, Fishel claims the show used this character development as a way to pay her less.
« It makes no sense, » Lapkus lamented.
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« By Season 2, [they] knew…. that excuse should go out the window,” Fishel continued. « And then Season 3 happened and it was always the same excuse. »
By this point, Topanga’s romance with Cory (played by series lead Ben Savage) had already been nurtured narratively and had become a staple of the series.
Fishel recalled that she finally threw down the gauntlet, explaining, « I had to threaten not to show up for a table reading. »
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It turns out Fishel’s father and his agent were both working together to negotiate on Fishel’s behalf for a higher salary. However, the young actress – who would have been around 13 at the time – was afraid of losing her role.
« My dad didn’t have it, » she said of the pay gap, adding that her dad and his agent were the ones who suggested she boycott a table read, which she was hesitant to do. « They were like, ‘Look, this is what you should get, this is where we are, and the only way to get it is if they know you’re serious about not coming back to unless treated fairly.’ ”
Fishel said she ended up listening to their advice, but the discussion evolved from there. That being said, Topanga remained a main character for the remainder of the series, until it ended at the end of Season 7 in May 2000.
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