Alexander Polinsky Accuses 'Charles in Charge' Co-Star Scott Baio of Abuse, 'Mental Torture'
On Wednesday, February 14, Alexander Polinsky held a press conference with lawyer Lisa Bloom and accused former Charles in Charge co-star Scott Baio of sexual harassment, assault, verbal abuse, and homophobic bullying.
During his speech, Polinsky read a detailed statement that described Baio's years of alleged inappropriate behavior:
"During the first year of the show, when I was 11 or 12, I observed Scott with our co-star Nicole on his lap backstage. I was so naive, I innocently hopped on his lap, expecting to hear a story about Fonzie or Happy Days or something awesome. Scott Baio was a hero to me. I was 11 years old. Instead of telling us a story, Scott immediately threw me off him and began angrily calling me 'f**got' while Nicole laughed."
The former 'Charles in Charge' star clears up discrepancies in her claims.
Polinksy says he felt "confusion, shame and then fear" and continued to say, "I was sexually harassed by Scott Baio and ultimately assaulted by him between the ages of 12 and 15 years old."
The 43-year-old actor went on and said, "Scott Baio began a pattern of abuse that was unrelenting. Mr. Baio repeatedly told me about gay sex acts that he told me I would grow up to perform. I would protest and ask him to stop saying these things, but he said it was for my own good. Scott told me of his sexual conquests with young girls and the co-stars of the show. At the same time, [he] tried to convince me that I was unlovable and defective, branding me with the most vulgar words for homosexuals that exist."
Polinksy recalled a day when Baio allegedly pulled down the child actor's pants "in front over 100 people." And another time when Baio "exposed his genitals to me" and then assaulted Polinsky behind the scenes when Baio threw a "scalding hot cup of tea" at the child.
Polinsky claims he suffered "mental torture in retaliation for what I had scene" and the abuse continued for the run of show. He also claims the adults on set were aware but too scared to react out of fear of losing their jobs on a hit show.
In the #MeToo era, following the Harvey Weinstein assault allegations last fall, networks have found they have to act quickly and decisively to similar charges, and in various ways.
Polinsky is not the first actor to come forward and accuse Baio of harassment and abuse. Fellow Charles in Charge star Nicole Eggert claims Baio sexually abused her when she was minor on the '80s sitcom.
She and Polinsky filed a police report in Los Angeles, and authorities are investigating Baio for his reported sexual misconduct. Baio has denied Eggert's accusations.