The Shady Side Of Scott Baio

Scott Baio was a sitcom darling of the '70s and '80s, having starred in Happy Days, its spin-off, Joanie Loves Chachi, and Charles in Charge. He even had a brief resurgence in 2007 with the reality show, Scott Baio Is 45... And Single. But lately, Baio treads in much more controversial waters, waging Twitter wars, becoming a contentious political pundit, and being on the receiving end of some extremely ugly accusations by a former costar. How did he go from being a beloved TV star to one of America's most divisive pop culture personalities? This is the shady side of Scott Baio.

An ugly accusation

In January 2018, Baio's Charles in Charge costar, Nicole Eggert, accused him of repeatedly molesting her when she was 14, then engaging in a consensual intimate relationship with her when she was 17, a year shy of the age of consent in California where this all allegedly took place. According to People, Eggert's claims became public after her taped Dr. Oz appearance was scrapped due to a Baio's lawyers issuing a cease and desist letter. Eggert then began posting and deleting tweets hinting at her claims.

Eventually, Eggert's Dr. Oz appearance aired, which — combined with her Megyn Kelly Today interview — drew a vicious response from Baio. In addition to Facebook posts and a Good Morning America interview that included his full denial of all accusations, Baio also took to Twitter, posing evidence that supposedly refutes Eggert's claims. He also posted a lengthy Facebook Live video during which reiterated his claim that Eggert was 18-years-old at the time of their encounter, adding, "I remember her calling me and asking to come over, and coming into my house, one time and seducing me. Now any normal heterosexual, red-blooded American guy ... the outcome would have been the same."

Yikes. That's a pretty indelicate response to a woman claiming she was molested and assaulted. Hopefully, the truth will get sorted out (via law enforcement if necessary, as Baio has requested and Eggert says she's considering). Meanwhile, we feel we should highlight an overarching point that's been understandably lost amid the more controversial aspects of the accusations: Their 11-year age gap aside, as director and star of Charles in Charge, Baio was Eggert's boss, which makes even a consensual relationship between the two a shady one.

Foot, meet mouth

Before the alarming accusations by Nicole Eggert, Baio found himself in hot water over another of his former female costars, Erin Moran. She played Joanie to his Chachi on both Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi. When she tragically died of cancer in 2017, Baio jumped the gun by assuming her death was drug-related, as evidenced by his insensitive comments about it on The Bernie & Sid Show (via People).

A self-professed teetotaler, Baio said he was "shocked but not completely shocked," about Moran's death, adding, "My thing is, I feel bad because her whole life, she was troubled, could never find what made her happy and content. For me, you do drugs or drink, you're gonna die. I'm sorry if that's cold, but God gave you a brain, gave you the will to live and thrive and you gotta take care of yourself."

The reaction was swift and severe, drawing the ire of everyone from social media users to Moran's own brother, Tony Moran, who wrote in a scathing Facebook post, "Scott, I'd advise you to get on your knees and pray you never run into me." To his credit, Baio quickly backtracked his remarks in his own Facebook post, citing the fact that the police had not yet released Moran's cause of death when he misspoke. "Please stop assuming the worse [sic] in me," Baio wrote. "I'm a compassionate person. I'm very heartbroken over her passing, especially since it was cancer."

So, no compassion if she had actually died an arguably just as tragic death via drug or alcohol addiction? Maybe sit the next few plays out, champ.

Chachi didn't just love Joanie

Before he was sticking his foot in his mouth all over social media (more on that in a minute), Baio earned a super shady reputation as one of the biggest womanizers in Hollywood. It was a role he embraced right up until the moment he signed a deal to appear on his own reality show, Scott Baio Is 45... And Single, which chronicled his introspective quest to figure out why he just couldn't stay in a relationship.

"Don't ever take a shower with a woman, because you'll probably end up proposing to her," Baio told People of his famously broken engagement to Pamela Anderson. Great, so impulsive, lust-based marriage proposals don't really work. What else went wrong? "I never did drugs and I can't really drink because I have zero tolerance for alcohol, so my vice became women. I was never faithful to most of them," Baio continued. Any bells going off yet?

Seriously, was an entire television show necessary to solve the mystery of why a guy who admittedly cheated on women like Pamela Anderson and Heather Locklear couldn't find a wife? It's almost like both Baio and the producers of the show were game to exploit his arguably creepy past...but no, that can't be right.    

'Go ugly early'

Did you think Scott Baio was done revisiting his past romantic crimes after profiting from them for the sake of a reality show? Well, hang on, because there was still just a bit more shady publicity to squeeze out of them thanks to an interview with — who else? — Howard Stern. The blog Oh No They Didn't transcribed the lowlights from Baio's 2007 visit with the shock jock, and if you're in the middle of lunch, you may want to skip this next section.

Not only did Baio rate his famous conquests, who allegedly included Melissa Gilbert, Nicolette Sheridan, and even Liza Minnelli, he also remarked on the quality of their bodies, and said that he would sometimes bed "less attractive chicks because it was his way of giving back." What a philanthropist! 

He also said that while out cruising for women with his "buddies" they coined the term "go ugly early," which is when they would settle for a less attractive girl when they were tired of chasing hotter ones. Ugh. Even if none of this is true, and Baio was just trying to impress Stern, it's pretty questionable that as an adult man, he would even fantasize about scenarios that are basically the character arcs of villains in just about any teen romantic comedy.

Baio's his name and trolling's his game

Baio joined Twitter in October 2009, and it only took six months for the blog Jezebel to start tracking his online antics thanks to his outspoken opinions on everything from politics to celebrities. It would be impossible to list every Twitter feud Baio has ever had right here. But just to name a few, there was the time he unsuccessfully burned New Zealander and Flight of the Conchords star, Jemaine Clement with the line "Bet you live with a lot of sheep." Or the time he told actress Rose McGowan to "keep getting plastic surgery."

But both of those pale in comparison to when Baio aimed his Twitter account at political targets like Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Both questionable tweets have since been deleted, but not forgotten — at least not by MSNBC host Tamron Hall who, according to Variety, grilled Baio about them during a 2016 interview. 

When asked why he posted photos of "Clinton standing in front of the word count with the letter 'o' blocked out," and "an unflattering image of Michelle Obama with the caption 'wow, he wakes up to this every morning,'" Baio shrugged them both off as jokes, even invoking his aforementioned jocular cohorts again, saying, "I sit with my buddies and we smoke cigars and we make jokes." Sounds like a swell bunch.

Delete your account

Though he seems to be able to constantly outdo himself in terms of being outrageous on social media, Baio may have already peaked in August 2017 with the retweet that seemingly endorsed a particularly troubling conspiracy theory. The since-deleted retweet, captured by The Wrap, was a meme that compared photos of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, and Sandy Hook victim Vicki Sotto's mother, Donna Sotto. The obvious inference was that they are the same woman, meaning she is a so-called "crisis actor," which is a term conspiracy theorists use to describe people allegedly paid to take part in hoaxes involving tragedies like mass shootings. It's a complicated situation to describe, and one so outlandish and offensive it doesn't usually get mainstream traction — that is, until a famous actor highlights it with the caption, "Thoughts."

Again, Baio found himself on the wrong side of Twitter, to which he knee-jerk reacted by tweeting, "Me asking for thoughts on a meme does NOT mean I believe or approve of it. I asked 4 thoughts. That's it. Stop spinning untruths." After continued pressure from people like Vicki Sotto's sister Jillian, Baio eventually relented, and tweeted the full-blown apology, "In retrospect, I wish I had thought longer about retweeting that conspiracy photo. I shouldn't have sent it. It was wrong."

See? All it takes is the wrath of an online community and being guilted by the sister of a victim of a horrible tragedy for Baio to do the right thing. Maybe he's not so bad after all!

Don't baristas have it bad enough?

As an extremely vocal Trump supporter, Baio never turns down an opportunity to act as cheerleader for the president, even when doing a Starbucks run for his wife. Baio's big idea was to tell the barista his name was "Trump," so that they would have to yell it out when it was ready. Apparently, the barista declined to so.

Some other folks started to follow his lead, and sensing he had the makings of a viral hit on his hands, Baio then tweeted, "Check out this! @realDonaldTrump I've started the 'give the Trump name' #TrumpMovement." 

However, two things quickly emerged to deflate the "give the Trump name" movement's momentum. First, other users pointed out that to participate, you have to buy something from Starbucks, which meant supporting a presumed anti-Trump establishment. Second, the idea of using an unwitting fast food employee, especially one who works at a place where they have to deliver on ridiculously elaborate customer requests, for the sake of your fun Twitter gag is just not cool, no matter how you feel about politics.

Wait, 'Charles in Charge' is still paying the bills?

By this point, it's probably safe to say that humility is not a virtue that Scott "Go Ugly Early" Baio holds dear, and he's actually proved it on a few occasions — where else? — on Twitter. First, there was the time in 2009 when he got into a feud with blogger Jamie Harrington, in which she criticized him for blocking a writer friend of hers, and suggested that it may cost him a business opportunity. His response, which Harrington screenshotted and posted to her blog, Totally The Bomb, read, "That's quite alright as I am VERY VERY Rich, and semi retired anyway. Family & Golf is what I live for now my dear."

Fast-forward eight years when Baio once again went to bat for the Trump family, this time taking the department store Nordstrom to task over its decision to stop carrying Ivanka Trump's fashion line. Using his favorite social media platform, Baio shared a photo of his wife's Nordstrom credit card which showed a history of over $30,000 in purchases.

"Dear @Nordstrom NEVER AGAIN!," Baio captioned the photo, achieving the simultaneous goals of protesting a store that wealthy people have continued to shop at, while also humblebragging about the amount of money his family is able to spend there. We get it, Chachi, you're doing well.

Brunch with Scott Baio's female friends sounds awful

Operating under the assumption that the entire world is aware of what Donald Trump said on the infamous Access Hollywood tape, we're not going to repeat his commentary here. But when the scandal broke in October 2016, Baio became one of then-candidate Trump's most vocal defenders.

During an interview with Judge Jeanine Pirro of Fox News, Baio echoed the president's "locker room talk" excuse, saying, "Ladies out there, this is what guys talk about when you're not around." 

First of all: nope. Second: Baio wasn't even close to being done there. "So if you're offended by it, grow up," he continued. "And by the way, this is what you guys talk about over white wine when you have your brunches."

Yep, you read that correctly. Scott Baio believes that over chardonnay and avocado toast, women are yukking it up about how being famous enables them to coerce unwitting partners into sexual situations. Do we even need to address that as a rational statement? Nah, we'll just go ahead and never accept Baio's invite to share any kind of meal, because if that's the topic of conversation at brunch, we don't even want to know how crazy it gets at dinner.