In a statement read by his spokesman at a press conference Wednesday, actor Scott Baio denied all allegations of abuse made by his former "Charlies in Charge" co-star Alexander Polinsky earlier in the day.
Baio was not present because he was attending an event at his daughter's school, his representative added.
“For reasons I don’t understand, I am the target of false claims that threaten everything that is important in my life," the statement read. "I am hurt and I am angry, but mostly, I am stunned that anybody can be so cruel to attack not just me, but my family."
Polinksy alleged in a press conference Wednesday that Baio began harassing and abusing him after he witnessed an intimate moment between the actor and an underage Nicole Eggert.
The former "Charles in Charge" child star claimed that the abuse began when he was 11 or 12 years old and lasted until he was 15.
He said it started when he walked in on 14-year-old Eggert sitting on Baio's lap. Mistaking it for playfulness, he went to hop on Baio's lap, as well, at which point Baio allegedly threw him off and called him a homophobic slur.
Polinksy accused Baio of repeatedly using slurs against him after that incident, frequently humiliating him in front of the cast and crew.
“Scott told me of his sexual conquests with young girls and the co-stars of the show,” Polinsky said. “At the same time, tried to convince me that I was unlovable, defective, and branding me with the most vulgar words for homosexuals that exist.”
The actor said the abuse also turned physical, with Baio once throwing a burning hot cup of tea in his face after Polinksy pretended to throw a basketball at him. He alleged Baio also pulled down his pants in front of 100 people and said in another incident, Baio exposed his genitals to Polinsky after cutting a hole in the wall of his dressing room.
Polinsky said his parents advised him to either stick it out or quit. He said he’d like a public apology from Baio and hopes for better protection of young people in the business.
"Here’s what I want: to finally put this behind me. I wish to be a small part of the change in the world. If kids are going to work in the entertainment industry, modeling, athletics or any profession, shouldn’t they be protected from abuse? Shouldn’t they be granted safe passage to do their jobs?" he said. "I ask you, I implore you, to call your representatives and ask for more safety and care for our working youth and ask for the people who abuse kids to be exposed, punished and prevented from doing so again."
Eggert, who also briefly spoke at the press conference, backed up Polinsky's claims. She said Polinsky was in the wrong place at the wrong time and saw something he wasn't supposed to see. Eggert has already alleged that Baio sexually abused her when she was a minor, a claim Baio has denied.
"Both Nicole and I deserved better," Polinsky said. "We were kids, children... famous actor kids, but still kids."