We learned so much from Boy Meets World, and now Trina McGee, one of the show’s stars, wants to teach us even more. After exposing her former costar Will Friedle for racist jokes he made on the set while filming in the ‘90s, including calling her Aunt Jemima, she publicly accepted his apology. On Thursday, April 16, she took to Instagram to share a throwback photo of their characters, Angela and Eric, embracing as she shared the “teaching moment” with fans.
“For the record: Will Friedle, the man responsible for [Aunt Jemima-gate], apologized to me 22 years ago and again days ago in a … three-page letter,” Trina, 50, told fans. “We talked more on it, and he acknowledged that he really wasn’t educated enough in his early 20s to know he was truly offending me.” In all caps, she continued, “This should and could be a teaching moment for all.”
The actress hoped that “people of all races or different backgrounds” can learn how to be more sensitive to each other and how to right their past wrongs. About Will, 43, she wrote, “He has conveyed to me how much this has changed his perception of comedy. And humanity. We all fall short of sensitivity at times.”
However, she also wanted to stress to her fans and followers what “extreme racism is,” sharing a story about her grandfather, Scuddie McGee. “My grandfather had to leave South Carolina in the middle of the night because the clerk had given him the wrong change and he pointed this out to the white store owner and was threatened with lynching. Scuddie McGee left South Carolina that night for fear of his life, bringing his small family along with him to New Jersey.”
Stressing that the incidents were separate — but that she is not “backing down on the truth” — she revealed she and her former castmate put the incident behind them. “Will apologized to me, and I forgave him. I then apologized to him for making the statements public, because his joke came out of just not knowing, not viciousness, and he forgave me,” she said. “That’s what friends do.”
Despite the drama, Trina didn’t want to dwell any further on the subject. “Now, get back to washing your hands and surviving this pandemic,” she told everyone. “Let love and hope be the next pandemic.” Sharing one of Eric’s quotes from the show, she wrote, “Lose one friend, lose all friends, lose yourself.”
Though the issue was one the actress had spoken on before, it came up again after tweets mentioning the past onset behavior resurfaced. “I was called Aunt Jemima on set as a joke, and the list of stupidity was endless. I gave it a pass cause I was older than the cast. But now everybody is grown,” she wrote in February 2019. In January the following year, she added that, despite receiving an apology at the time, others didn’t seem to understand the severity of those actions. “One reply was that calling me Aunt Jemima was the same as calling me The Jolly Green Giant. Just a fictional food character,” she said.
Now, Will made it clear he understands the hurt he caused, and he appreciated both the call out and how the matter was resolved. “I love you, Trina,” he commented on the post.
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