Baio — who spoke at the Republican National Convention and is a big supporter of President Trump — put his foot in his mouth this week after suggesting his former Joanie Loves Chachi co-star’s passing was linked to substance abuse.
“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,” Baio told TMZ. “All of these goofballs on Twitter started attacking me. I’m sure they’re attacking me because I’m a conservative.”
Moran, best known for her role as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days, passed away from stage 4 cancer. Despite substance abuse issues in her past, no illegal narcotics were found at her residence. Baio also posted an open letter from Moran’s husband, Steven Fleischmann, on Facebook in which he opened up about her health issues.
“When somebody tweets to me, ‘Maybe you should have voted for affordable health care and she’d still be alive,’ that’s political,” Baio explained when pressed on his reasoning. “Every other liberal — these people never attack the press for getting the story wrong about heroin, they attack me.”
Baio, who played Chachi on the beloved sitcom, was bashed for giving an interview shortly after Moran’s death where he said, “If you do drugs or drink, you’re going to die.” In a Facebook post, he attempted to clarify that he had heard reports Moran — his “very first real girlfriend” died of a heroin overdose and that the interview took place before authorities mentioned her cancer.
“My first tweet was we’ll miss her smile, we’ll miss what a good person and an animal lover she was… You know, you forget the good stuff,” he said. “Listen, I’m a guy who speaks his mind. When I was told or heard that it was drugs that’s how I reacted.”
Baio continued, “I don’t want to make this about me you guys, the only reason I’m doing this is because I want to set the record straight and nobody is going to stop me from speaking my mind. But I guarantee you that anybody who says to me on Twitter, ‘I was a fan and now I’m not’ is a liberal who was trying to take me down.
“Now, that’s my opinion based on experience,” he concluded. “So was what I said insensitive? Uh, no.”
Clearly, Chachi’s not losing any sleep over the backlash.
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