Los Angeles, Feb 15 (IANS) Actor Alexander Polinsky is claiming years of “sexual-themed hazing” by co-star Scott Baio on the set of their 1980s sitcom “Charles in Charge”.
According to the former child star, Baio allegedly exposed himself, threw hot tea on Polinsky’s face, and pulled down Polinsky’s pants when he was a minor, reports variety.com.
Polinsky, who was 11 years old at the time the alleged child abuse began, says his harassment was homophobic in nature.
Polinksy shared his story on Wednesday during a press conference here with his attorney Lisa Bloom and his “Charles in Charge” co-star Nicole Eggert, who has also accused Baio of sexual harassment and child abuse.
“I was sexually harassed by Scott Baio and ultimately assaulted by him between the ages of 12 and 15 years,” a sombre and shaken Polinsky said during the conference, reports variety.com.
Polinsky says the harassment began one day on the set when he was 11 years old and saw Eggert sitting on Baio’s lap – something he interpreted as an innocent interaction.
“I was so naive,” Polinsky said, not realising at the time what was really going between Eggert and Baio. He then hopped onto Baio’s lap, too, explaining he expected Baio to tell him innocent stories, but instead, “Scott immediately threw me off him and angrily called me f***t”.
Polinsky said Baio’s harassment and abuse was a daily occurrence that endured through the sitcom’s five-season run, and although it was painful going to work every day, he did not want to leave the show because he was a working actor who had auditioned against hundreds of children for the role on the sitcom.
Polinsky added: “I was a professional who did not want to give up what I had worked so hard for.”
Polinsky claims Baio repeatedly talked about “gay sex acts that he told me I would grow up to perform”.
Polinksy also said Baio would frequently discuss his “sexual conquests” with his co-stars and other women.
Polinsky described Baio’s harassment as being disguised as humour, but he noted that “joking taken to extremes becomes hazing and over longer periods of time, becomes torture.”