Scott Baio is speaking out after a backlash sparked from his recent comments about Erin Moran, his Joanie Loves Chachi costar who died Saturday at the age of 56.
In a Facebook post released late Monday night, Baio wrote of wanting “to remember all the best, my most fondest times with Erin. I was still trying to process this loss.” It was during this time of grief, Baio noted, that he appeared on the radio program, The Bernie & Sid Show.
“I’m okay, a little shocked but not completely shocked that this happened,” he told the hosts when asked about Moran. “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 backlash was swift as Baio tried defending himself on Twitter. “You bash me ONLY because I support Pres [Donald Trump],” he tweeted to Tonight Show writer Chase Mitchell.
Baio stated in his Facebook post that he saw headlines suggesting Moran died of a heroin overdose before speaking on the show. “I was asked ONLY about Erin’s troubled past due to drug & alcohol abuse,” he wrote. “I was still upset and said I felt that living that kind of a lifestyle will catch up with you and nothing good would come of it.”
The Harrison County Sheriff’s Department released a statement on Monday morning declaring Moran “likely succumbed to complications with stage 4 cancer.”
“Now it seems every news outlet & tabloid wants to paint a different picture of me and of what really happened,” Baio continued. “They’re stating that I’m saying drugs caused her to die after it was reported stage 4 cancer. This is so wrong! Now I truly understand the meaning of ‘Fake News.’ This is crazy.”
He added, “I’m also trying to process this loss. Erin was my very first real girlfriend. My wife and Erin contacted each other and spoke often for over a decade. I even had her on my reality show years ago. I DID reach out to her over a span of 30 years. Please stop assuming the worse in me. I’m a compassionate person. I’m very heartbroken over her passing, especially since it was cancer.”
Read Baio’s full statement on Facebook.
On Saturday, the actor wrote of Moran in a Facebook tribute, “May people remember Erin for her contagious smile, warm heart, and animal loving soul. I always hoped she could find peace in her life. God has you now, Erin.”