WOODLAND HILLS — A former “Charles in Charge” actor went public for the first time today with allegations of abuse and “mental torture” he allegedly suffered at the hands of star Scott Baio during the show’s run.
At a news conference at the Woodland Hills office of attorney Lisa Bloom, Alexander Polinsky said he was sexually harassed and physically assaulted by Baio beginning when he 11 or 12 years old and continuing until he was 15.
Polinsky is the second performer from the show to come forward with misconduct allegations against Baio. Nicole Eggert, who is also represented by Bloom, has accused Baio of sexual misconduct beginning when she was as young as 14.
Baio has vehemently denied Eggert’s claims. An attorney for the actor is expected to hold a news conference at 2 p.m. to respond to Polinsky’s claims.
Polinsky, 43, told a packed room of reporters that getting the job on “Charles in Charge” was “one of the most wonderful things that had ever happened to me … but my excitement did not last long.”
“During the first year of the show, I was 11 or 12, I observed Scott with our co-star Nicole (Eggert) on his lap backstage. I was so naive I innocently hopped on his lap, expecting to hear a story about Fonzie or ‘Happy Days.’ … 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 `faggot’ while Nicole laughed.
“I felt confusion, shame and then fear when I realized I had judged the situation wrong, and it was not innocent, it was sexual in nature,” Polinsky 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.”
Polinsky said Baio would brag to him about his sexual conquests “with young girls and co-stars of the show” while also describing Polinsky as “unlovable, defective and branding me with the most vulgar words for homosexuals that exist.”
He said Baio pulled down his pants in front of about 100 people on the set, and on another occasions Baio cut a hold in a canvas wall of a dressing room “and exposed his genitals to me.”
“One of the most painful memories of my childhood was when Scott and I were backstage waiting to enter the set for a scene. I faked a basketball to him. He got startled and in anger he assaulted me by throwing a burning hot cup of tea in my face. I believed I was being subjected to mental torture and retaliation for what I had seen.”
Polinsky said adults on the show were aware of what was happening, “but were too scared of losing a job on a hit show to act.”
Last week, Eggert, 46, met with Los Angeles police detectives to file a report claiming she was sexually abused by Baio.
Baio, 57, has conceded that he had sexual intercourse with Eggert, but not until she was 18 years old. He said the encounter was consensual, saying Eggert seduced him.
“Charles in Charge” aired for five seasons. Eggert and Polinsky both appeared on the show from 1987-90.
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