Scott Baio Under Fire For Drug-Related Comments About Erin Moran's Death

By Britni de la Cretaz 04/27/17

After the death of his Happy Days co-star, Baio remarked that he wasn't shocked because if "you do drugs or drink, you’re gonna die."

Scott Baio

Actor Scott Baio is facing backlash for comments he made in the wake of his former co-star—and girlfriend—Erin Moran’s death earlier this week. Moran, 56, died in her sleep of complications from an aggressive form of throat cancer, a statement from her husband, Steve Fleischmann, revealed. But before her autopsy was conducted, Baio speculated about what might have killed his Joanie Loves Chachi co-star.

During an interview on The Bernie & Sid Show, Baio said he was “not completely shocked” by Moran’s death. "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,” he said. “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.”

He added, “I’m saddened by what happened. I don’t know if it was drugs that killed her, I read one report said it might have been and I hope it… I don’t know what I hope. It’s what it is. What can you do?”

The day prior, he had issued quite a different sentiment on Twitter, saying, “May people remember Erin for her contagious smile, warm heart, and animal loving soul. I had always hoped she could find peace in her life.”

My sincere condolences. #ErinMoran #HappyDaysFamily — Scott Baio (@ScottBaio) April 23, 2017

Moran, who was best known for her role on the TV show Happy Days, has struggled with alcoholism and addiction over the years. She spent the final years of her life becoming somewhat of a fixture on reality TV shows like Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Ghost Stories, Where Are They Now?, Totally Tracked Down, and Whatever Happened to…

Former child actor Paul Petersen, founder of the non-profit organization A Minor Consideration, which is dedicated to the legal and human rights of juvenile performers, posted a message on the group’s Facebook page following Moran’s death.

“The perversity of human frailty is at the root of this loss, not failure,” he wrote. “We did our best with the resources available to us, but it was a very dark room. Some don’t find the light switch in time.”

Earlier today, however, he posted again, saying, “It is not too soon to correct the record.” His post calls Moran “one of the kindest, most generous celebrities we’ve known.”

After receiving criticism about his comments about Moran, Baio clarified that at the time of his statement, the media was reporting Moran’s cause of death as a heroin overdose. (This Page Six story from April 23rd lists Moran’s COD as “suspected heroin overdose.”)

Sid Rosenberg, co-host of The Bernie & Sid Show, defended the actor on Twitter, saying, “In defense of @ScottBaio I did ask him why he thought childhood actors of the 70's struggled so much with drugs and alcohol and he included Erin in the conversation.”

He continued, “Truth is the whole media had her dying from an OD and that's what we all thought was the cause when @ScottBaio came on. Too easy to jump on him after we found out why she had passed. I know he cared for her and was both frustrated and upset.” Baio tweeted that people are bashing him “only because” he supports President Donald Trump.

I said "IF". @ChaseMit. My wife @MrsScottBaio spoke to Erin less than 1 month ago. You bash me ONLY because I support Pres @realDonaldTrump

— Scott Baio (@ScottBaio) April 24, 2017

He then took to Facebook to clarify his stance. “I'm also trying to process this loss. Erin was my very first real girlfriend,” he wrote. “Please stop assuming the worse [sic] in me. I'm a compassionate person. I'm very heartbroken over her passing, especially since it was cancer.”

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.