Erin Moran’s brother Tony has launched a withering attack on Scott Baio, Erin’s former co-star on Happy Days, after Baio speculated on-air that Moran died due to drug and alcohol abuse, when in fact she died from cancer complications.
Tony called out Baio as a “coward” and a “piece of shit” on social media Wednesday. He said he was angry that Baio’s wife contacted him to apologize on her husband’s behalf, instead of Baio himself picking up the phone.
On Monday, Baio had decided to do an interview with the The Bernie & Sid radio show during which he made a series of guesses about what had caused the death of his former co-star. “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.
While a fulsome and unreserved apology was clearly in order, Baio, being Baio, chose instead to defend the comments in a lengthy Facebook post and interviews.
He argues that he was misinformed about the cause of Erin’s death, and that therefore his comments on addiction shouldn’t be interpreted as criticizing Moran.
Baio says that he did not suggest Moran died of a drug overdose, but merely said that “if” she had it would have been a terrible thing.
He has also been arguing that his critics are motivated by opposition to his support for Donald Trump—not the first time he has alleged his political views have made him a target.
Tony Moran is among the friends and family who are unimpressed by his line of reasoning.
He also took issue with Baio’s description of Erin as “my very first real girlfriend,” saying the two merely had a “very, very brief fling.”
In his first post, Moran wrote: “A special shout out to Scott Baio. I already went on Twitter about you. I hope it finds you. You and my lil sis had a very very brief fling. She dumped you. 2 reasons. 1. She told me that you were more like a lil girl and not a man. 2. She told me that you were tiny. Ya know. Barely a man in the man region. True story! Scott, I’d advise you to get on your knees and pray you never run into me.”
Moran added a note saying, that he was “severely and viciously protective of people that I care for.”
A few hours later, Moran wrote: “Well guys. Guess what? I was contacted by Scott Baio's wife. His wife! Fucking coward! I've never met her. I do know the scumbag piece of shit Scott Baio tho. He was a piece of shit back then and still is. He had his wife contact me! Very apologetic and shit. Doesn’t surprise me. It’s too late you motherfucking pieces of shit! Go back under the rock you crawled out from under. There isn’t one word I want to hear you speak. Makes me sick to my stomach.”
Baio said during the controversial radio interview that he was “not completely shocked” by his co-star’s passing, saying, “I knew Erin well... She was just an insecure human being and fell into this world of drugs and alcohol. Again, I don’t know if that’s what killed her, I’m sure it was a culmination of years and years of doing it that might have had something to do with it. She just never found her way.”
Baio swiftly became the target of social-media vitriol after the likely cause of death—complications due to stage 4 cancer—was released by officials, who also said they had found no illegal drugs at the scene.
In an interview with TMZ, Baio once again refused to apologize, saying he had not been “insensitive.”
“In that interview I said, ‘Maybe it was drugs and if it was drugs, drugs and alcohol will kill you sooner than you normally would die’... and then all these goofballs on Twitter started attacking me,” Baio said.
“I’m sure they’re attacking me because I’m a conservative. These people never attack the press for getting the story wrong about heroin. They attack me.”
“When somebody tweets to me, ‘Maybe you should’ve voted for affordable health care and she’d still be alive,’ that’s political,” he said.
The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office said Monday a “joint investigation into Mrs. Moran’s death was conducted” and “a subsequent autopsy revealed that Mrs. Moran likely succumbed to complications of stage 4 cancer.”
The sheriff also said no illegal narcotics were found at the residence.