It's been a rough week for Scott Baio: paying taxes, dealing with nasty websites, supervising his wife's homophobic Facebook updates. He just wants everyone to really understand him, and so we're ready to let Team Baio step forward.
Actually, we tried to let Team Baio have their say a few days ago: We emailed Mr. Baio's agent with an unsolicited offer to let Scott and Renee post on Jezebel. Let them defend themselves, explain their side of the story, be fair, all that. It was a genuine offer. But we've still not heard back.
In the meantime, the story of Scott and Renee Baio's online temper tantrum has gotten some attention this week — and without Scott and Renee stepping forward to their own formal defense, it's been left to a few spirited Fox News blog commenters to carry the Baios' right-leaning torch. But that's not enough; a third-party blog's comment section is hardly the platform for a fair fight. What about the fact that Scott and Renee do some good things for charity? And what about the fact that this web-rag isn't allowing anyone to come to their defense? Renee Baio, for instance, claimed on Monday that this website had censored the opinions of Baio supporters who have proudly stepped forward.
We appreciate that Joanie will always love Chachi and come to his defense. But seriously, it's likely that Team Baio doesn't realize that our system requires unapproved commenters to be approved by a site administrator, and only upon their approval will those comments show on the live site. Nevertheless, we've made a good faith effort, every day, to confirm that there are no unapproved comments in our system from Baio supporters. There was only one that was awaiting approval, and now it's live:
Of course, that lone comment comes two days after Renee first started pointing the censorship finger.
Another Baio supporter, Jill Levy-Fisch, emailed us today to speak on the Baios' behalf. Jill's the president of SaveBabies.org, a non-profit organization devoted to newborn screening; when the Baios thought that their newborn Bailey had tested positive for a metabolic disorder, they reached out to Jill (it turned out to be a false result, and Bailey is fine). Still, even once the Baios knew their own daughter was fine, they took the time to do a PSA and donate or do whatever else they could. Additionally, they founded the Bailey Baio Angel Foundation, which also advocates for newborn screening. An excerpt of Levy-Fisch's email:
I flew to LA and was welcomed into the Baio's home like I was family. They could not have been more gracious. […] I have seen first hand what kind of people they are. When they found out their daughter was healthy, they could have made the choice to return back to their normal lives as so many do after getting good results. They were horrified at the thought of children needlessly dying or becoming permanently impaired. […] Strong friendships have been made through their organization, for me included as I do have 2 children with disorders detectable through newborn screening.
This is good. This is all true. The Baios have done good work for a good cause, and for that they should be applauded. But unfortunately, this has nothing to do with Scott calling us hypocrites and racists, nor is it related to Renee calling us "lesbian shitasses" who are full of "cuntness." We wish it did, because it'd be lovely to have an actual reason to mention something nice about the Baios. But alas. Pertinence is a bitch.
Back to the newborn-screening lady. In her email, Levy-Fisch continues:
I have seen the posts and I am livid over what is happening. I have read Scott's tweets and if you did so yourself, you would see how his words were twisted and taken out of context. I do see that everyone on your site seems to enjoy the drama however without everyone having their facts straight, this should not be allowed to continue. Several families have forwarded to me what their responses were to what was posted on your site. To this day, I do not see any of them posted. You only seem to be posting what is negative. This leads me to believe you do not want your readers to see there are 2 sides to this and that things have gotten out of control. […] Since the negative responses seem to get posted very quickly, I would appreciate if you could let me know when the responses from people speaking our in support of the Baio's will be posted so I may inform our special needs families. They have the right to be heard and not censored. So far, there are none. I am available to discuss this with you at any time and do look forward to hearing from you. I see that Gawker Media is based in NY. I live in NY and would be very interested in meeting with someone from their office. I think they would be interested to hear all of the facts. Our attorney said he is available for a meeting as well. I look forward to hearing from you.
With all due respect, Ms. Levy-Fisch, we've got zero clue as to why we'd want to meet with you or your lawyer, since neither of you represent the Baios outside the court of BFF-law. In a later email, Ms. Levy-Fitch clarified that her emails do not reflect the opinion of SaveBabies.org (and that she was writing from a BlackBerry, so forgive the typos), but that she does have "absolute PROOF" that Jezebel would not allow a pro-Baio commenter to post on the site. We've since asked her to send that proof so we can see what happened. As of publication time we've yet to hear back on the matter.
But during these trying times, it's important that everyone's voice be heard. So if you are a Baio supporter or feel that we've approached this subject unfairly, or believe that there was another way to interpret the Baios' strongly derogatory missives, or just want to remind us that we're cuntrag dykes, now is your chance! This comment thread is for you, Team Baio. Speak loud, speak proud; run wild, run free.
For Jezebel's thorough coverage of All Things Baio, go here.