Over the weekend, actress Nicole Eggert took to Twitter to allege her former Charles in Charge co-star Scott Baio molested her as a teen, writing, “Ask @scottbaio what happened in his garage at his house when I was a minor. Creep.” In an exclusive interview with the Today show’s Megyn Kelly Tuesday morning, Eggert elaborated on the allegations, saying that Baio immediately “took to her” when they started filming the show. She was 14 at the time, and Baio was “11 and a half years” older than her.
“Then he started expressing his love for me,” Eggert recalled, visibly emotional, “and talking about marriage in the future. And then, I was still 14, before my 15th birthday, we were at his house, in his car, in his garage, and he reached over and penetrated me with his finger, and that is when the sexual touching and the abuse started.”
On Today, Eggert elaborated on her abuse allegations, describing how Baio harassed her on set throughout the four seasons they worked together (Charles in Charge went off the air in 1990). Referencing the alleged incident that occurred when she was 14, Eggert explained, “I was very young and it was shocking… I had never experienced anything like that.” She continued, “The issue with him is he was our boss. He also was telling me you can’t tell anybody, this is illegal, I’ll go to jail, the show will be over, everyone will be sued, you’ll be out of a job, you’ll ruin everybody’s life.”
Eggert alleged that similar incidents of sexual abuse occurred “probably like once a week” through the age of 16. Additionally, she claimed, “On set there was a lot of groping, a lot of fondling, a lot of pulling me on his lap,” which “the other cast members saw.” Kelly included testimonies from two individuals who worked on the set. One, an actor named Alexander Polinsky, wrote about Baio’s abuse in a now-deleted tweet, and confirmed to Kelly that “he did witness inappropriate cuddling” between Baio and Eggert on set. Another, named Adam Carl, wrote on Twitter, “When I worked on Charles in Charge in ‘88, I sat with you while you cried about that abusive asshole.”
When Kelly asked Eggert if any higher-ups involved in the series were aware of the abuse, Eggert replied, “I don’t think they knew about the actual physical sexual abuse, but everybody knew the attention that he gave me. Everybody was always suspect of that. And around town, people would always ask me, ‘Are you dating Scott Baio?’ And at that age, I just denied.” In the past, Eggert has said publicly that she and Baio had sex when she was 17 years old. Kelly pointed out a few of the interviews in which Eggert spoke favorably of Baio, such as a 2012 Yahoo interview in which Eggert insisted that she would “love to work with” Baio in the future, saying, “There are a lot of weird strange rumors about things that went on between us, but we became really good friends and everything is way more innocent than it was made out to be.”
Reflecting on her past statements, Eggert said that, “If I could go back to a younger Nicole, I would tell her that she doesn’t have to be ashamed… I didn’t want anybody to look at me and think I was weak. I didn’t want anybody to look at me and think, ‘Oh, victim.’” Eggert explained that seeing other women come forward with their stories of sexual abuse has “made [her] realize that it’s not gross, and it’s not embarrassing.”
In a separate interview clip from 2013, Eggert laughingly recalled losing her virginity to Baio at the age of 17. In regards to that interview, Eggert recalled that, “There was stuff that didn’t make that interview, where I did tell him that I was molested and that there was so much more to that story.” The interviewer, Nik Richie, confirmed in a statement that “off air [Eggert] was an emotional wreck,” and that “she told me it was much worse than she described it on air.” After that interview, Eggert said that she “started asking myself, ‘Why am I lying?’”
Later in the interview, Eggert was joined by her attorney Lisa Bloom, who shared that the actress reached out to her after “she got some bullying letters from [Baio’s] lawyers.” Bloom discussed Eggert’s options, including a possible civil case or a defamation case against Baio for calling her a liar. Bloom also divulged that going to the police was not outside the realm of possibility, because “within one year of a report of child sexual abuse, they can still prosecute.” Baio himself has recommended this option. In the 16-minute Facebook video in which he denied Eggert’s allegations, he said, “If you have a real claim, you go to the real people, not social media.” Responding to Baio’s comments about going to the police, Eggert remarked, “He’s asked me to. So he might just get what he wishes for.”
In his Facebook defense, Baio insisted that he and Eggert had only one, consensual sexual interaction, which occurred after she turned 18. He further insisted that Eggert initiated the intercourse, recalling, “I remember her coming to my house, one time, and seducing me…Any normal, heterosexual, red-blooded American guy, the outcome would have been the same.” During her Today appearance, Eggert contested this version of events, saying that not only was she 17 when the incident occurred, but that “he initiated it” and “it was in my house.” Eggert said that she had “no doubt in [her] mind” that she was a minor and that Charles in Charge was still being shot at the time, alleging that Baio was “quite mean to [her]” on set afterwards.
While Baio also cited Eggert’s appearance on his 2007 VH1 reality show, Scott Baio is 45…and Single as evidence of their friendship, Eggert told Kelly that Baio’s show “was about him having therapy for womanizing.”
“I went on there to call him out on some of the women he mistreated on our set. That’s what the appearance was about,” she added. Kelly repeated Baio’s denials throughout the interview, and made it clear that she was open to interviewing Baio on air to hear his side of the story.