An actor who starred alongside Scott Baio on the sitcom Charles in Charge has come forward to claim that he witnessed the show’s star sexually abusing an underage Nicole Eggert.
Alexander Polinsky said in a lengthy statement to The Talk that he walked in on Eggert sitting in Baio’s lap during his first season on the show, and was quickly belittled by the star of the show who began yelling at him and using ‘homophobic slurs.’
Polinsky was just 11 at the time.
He went on to claim that he was later physically assaulted by Baio, an allegation the actor has denied in the past.
The statement was read as Eggert appeared on The Talk to discuss Baio’s alleged abuse, and brought lesbian host and former child star Sara Gilbert to tears as she revealed that Polinsky is a ‘dear friend.’
Shocking claim: Alexander Polinsky (above in 2014) claims that he walked in on Scott Baio, then 25, abusing a 14-year-old Nicole Eggert on the set of Charles in Charge
Allegation: ‘Nicole was on Scott’s lap and he did not appreciate my intrusion. He yelled at me and called me various homophobic slurs,’ Polinsky told The Talk (l to r: Poilinsky, Baio and Eggert on set in 1988)
‘Working on the set of ‘Charles in Charge’ from age 11 to 15 was no picnic. It was a toxic environment,’ said Polinsky.
‘I witnessed Scott Baio acting inappropriately towards Nicole Eggert during my first year of working on the show. I walked in on them together behind the set.’
Polinsky continued: ‘Nicole was on Scott’s lap and he did not appreciate my intrusion. He yelled at me and called me various homophobic slurs.’
That was not all he had to say either, going on to speak about other abuses he allegedly endured at the hands of Baio.
‘Growing up on the show I received regular verbal attacks, mental abuse and I also suffered a physical assault at the hands of Scott Baio. There is no excuse for his behavior. It is abhorrent,’ said Polinsky.
He then finished out by calling for change, and not just in the film and television industry.
‘If we want to change the culture, we have to bring out the truth, take back control from the abusers and make them listen to the pain of their victims,’ said Polinsky.
The actor is not just using his words to show support for Eggert either, as he also accompanied her earlier this week when she met with members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s special victims unit to discuss her abuse allegations.
The actress said the sexual abuse began when she was 14 back on the set of Charles in Charge.
‘He immediately took to me and befriended me and earned my trust. And then he started expressing his love for me. And talking about marriage in the future,’ said Eggert on Megyn Kelly Today last week.
‘And then I was still 14, before my 15th birthday, we were at his house in his car in his garage. And that is when the sexual touching and abuse started after that.’
She went on to claim that these incidents ‘probably happened once a week’ until she was 16, along with kissing and groping that she believes the pair’s co-stars on the program saw at the time.
‘I had never experienced anything like that before either, so he was playing on not only my emotions but my hormones and all of those things,’ said Eggert, now 46.
‘And the issue with him is that he was our boss. And he was telling me, you know, ‘You can’t tell anybody, this is illegal, I’ll go to jail. The show will be over. Everybody will be sued,” you know? “You’ll be out of a job, you’ll ruin everybody’s life.’
Eggert then added: ‘It’s scary. It’s intimidating, especially when you’re that young.’
As for the producers and other actors on set, Eggert said they had to be aware of the kissing and groping but she does not think they knew about the sexual abuse.
‘There was a bit of like — this person loves me. I trust this person. And that he cares about me and I’m safe,’ said Eggert of her feelings for Baio at the time.
‘And it wasn’t until, you know, getting a little bit older that I started to realize this not — this is not love.’
She said that the two did not have sexual intercourse until she was 17 and Baio was 28, and that she only told a few close friends at the time of the initial abuse.
Baio disputes this as well and says Eggert was 18, which is the legal age of consent in the state.
He provided proof of that in the form of an interview that Eggert did with The Dirty, in which she said that it was long after the show wrapped in 1990 when she and Bario had sex.
Eggert explained why she had kept this a secret for so long, and why she stressed in the past that she had never had sexual contact with Baio until she was of age.
‘But my truth is I wasn’t ready to tell my story and for me it was protecting the show and protecting that whole legacy that nothing happened there,’ Eggert told Kelly.
‘That was my delusion and that was my cover-up always. And, you know, that’s not the first time I covered it up. I always lied about it.’
Now, Eggert wishes she could go back and tell her younger self to not be ashamed of what had happened, and let her know it was not her fault.
‘Shame plays a weird part and a strong voice. You lie,’ said Eggert.
‘I didn’t want anybody to look at me and think I was weak. I didn’t think anybody to think, oh, victim. It’s not until now that I see other people coming forward and how many women I talk to that this has happened to. It’s more common than not, unfortunately.’
Eggert said that her interactions and conversations with these women have also helped her realize her alleged assault is not ‘gross or embarrassing.’
Kelly then asked Eggert to explain why if she had endured this abuse she agreed to go on Baio’s reality show back in 2007, and giving the impression that the two were friends.
‘Well, the reality show was about him having therapy for womanizing. That’s what people don’t understand. I went on there to call him out on some of the women he mistreated on our set,’ said Eggert.
‘That’s what that appearance was about. So, you know, yeah, I appeared on it. But it wasn’t a positive oh, let’s go, you know, have ice cream. It was about the women.’
She then was asked about why she denied underage relations with Baio while being interviewed by The Dirty.
‘I’m good at covering up. I got really good at it. Really good at bearing it and putting it away in a box and saying, no, that’s not me. That didn’t happen to me,’ said Eggert.
It was then revealed that Nik Richie, the founder of The Dirty who conducted that interview, had released a statement backing up Eggert’s claim.
Kelly read it on air, pointing out beforehand that the two do share a manager.
‘I remember the day that Nicole Eggert did the interview, and she was distraught after the interview. She was an emotional wreck. She said it was much worse than she had described on air,’ read the statement.
‘She said, he molested as a child and I didn’t know any better.’
Kelly then asked Eggert: ‘When you left that radio interview, is that true? Were you distraught? What are you feeling?’
Eggert responded by saying it was at that moment she realized she need to tell the truth and stop protecting other people.
She later spoke about the first time she had intercourse with Baio, revealing: ‘It was in my house, and in my spare bedroom and he laid down a towel and it happened there.’
Baio told a different story in a video posted to Facebook days before Eggert’s interview with Kelly.
‘I remember her calling me and asking me to come over and coming in my house one time, and seducing me,’ said Baio.
‘Any normal heterosexual, red-blooded American guy, the outcome would have been the same.’
That video was posted along with what Baio claims is evidence of Eggert’s deception on his Facebook account, where he wrote: ‘Nicole Eggert has been claiming I had sex with her before she was 18 at least since 2013. She is provably wrong, and because we have been telling her that since last year without results, our only conclusion is that she is deliberately lying.’
Baio’s evidence consisted of highlighted dates meant to show that Eggert is lying based on the comments she made to The Dirty and a large number of legal letters demanding silence from Eggert and Polinsky.
He also appeared on Good Morning America to deny allegations that he sexually abused Eggert.
The actor did not offer any proof to discredit Eggert’s claims, but did demand that she stop with her allegations for the sake of his family.
‘Why somebody would come after me, my reputation and stop me from doing something that I love doing … and more important than that is my wife and I have a 10-year-old daughter,’ said Baio, who showed no hint of emotion during the interview.
‘And my 10-year-old daughter does not need to be hearing about this from friends at school, these false allegations. Her job is not to defend me. My job is to defend my daughter. Her job is to be 10 years old and that’s why this has got to stop.’
He also shared a tweet from January 2017 of Eggert responding to a fan asking where Baio was during a Charles in Charge cast reunion by writing: ‘Yes – we were missing Scott!’