It’s shaping up to be a rather difficult week for Ryan Seacrest. The TV host and on-air personality is the subject of allegations claiming that he subjected his personal stylist to “unwanted sexual aggression” for years, and now Page Six reports that Hollywood publicists are telling their stars to avoid talking to him on the Oscars’ red carpet this Sunday. Some plan on steering their clients to Seacrest’s co-host, Giuliana Rancic, while others are planning on having them skip talking to E! altogether. The allegations against Seacrest come from Suzie Hardy, who claims the entertainer abused her in a number of ways while she worked as his stylist, including grinding on her with an erect penis while clad only in his underwear and groping her vagina. Seacrest himself has vehemently denied the accusations, saying they are but an effort to sully his name and shake him down for cash. He also claims an investigation run by E!’s parent company, NBCUniversal, has cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Ryan Seacrest appeared on ABC’s Live With Kelly and Ryan Tuesday, and the show went on as normal, despite the recent allegations of sexual misconduct against him by his former stylist. Neither host addressed the allegations, which Seacrest previously denied.
ABC has also said that Seacrest will continue as host of the rebooted American Idol, slated to premiere March 11th.
- E! is also standing by Seacrest, and plans to have him host the Red Carpet at the Oscars, as scheduled. The awards season has been dominated by the Time’s Up Movement, and the Red Carpet has become a scene of political activism against sexual harassment and misconduct, as much as a scene of glitz and glam.
- The allegations were divulged in graphic detail in Variety Monday by his former stylist Suzie Hardy, who claims he grabbed her genitals and subjected her to years of unwanted sexual contact and comments. He denies the allegations and E! has said that its internal investigation cleared him of wrongdoing.
- “E!’s investigation was extremely comprehensive and thorough. Over the course of a two month process, our outside counsel interviewed more than two dozen people regarding the allegations, including multiple separate meetings with the claimant and all firsthand witnesses that she provided,” a spokesperson for E! tells PEOPLE. “The investigator is an attorney with nearly 20 years experience and is highly regarded professionally. Any claims that question the legitimacy of this investigation are completely baseless.”
RYAN SEACREST SPEAKS OUT LATE TUESDAY
Tuesday afternoon, Seacrest commented again on the allegations, issuing another strong denial.
- “Much has been said about the #MeToo and Times Up movement(s) and the importance of providing women and men with the opportunity to share their stories of workplace misconduct, in an effort to change our culture and the systemic inequalities that exist. I absolutely support this cause unequivocally and applaud all the brave souls who have come forward to share their stories,” Seacrest said in a statement to Fox News.
- “Sadly, last fall I became one of the accused, which I promptly revealed proactively to the network involved and to the public. And to be equally clear, those accusations were then investigated by an independent third-party over the course of a two-month process and involved dozens of interviews that included me, the accuser and countless others. Ultimately, my name was cleared,” he continued. “I eagerly participated in the investigation in order to demonstrate my innocence because I know my truth, and I believe in due process.
- “Yesterday, Variety published a salacious story that revealed the specific claims against me for the first time – even though an independent third-party investigator found insufficient evidence to support the claims. Much to my dismay, Variety didn’t speak with me or bother to speak with other credible witnesses or even ask for any of the evidence that was obtained during the investigation when offered, all of which clearly challenged the veracity of the claims made against me.
- “This person who has accused me of horrible things tried to buy her silence by asking for money on multiple occasions — I refused. I have worked extremely hard to achieve my success and I don’t take my opportunities for granted. I don’t want to accuse anyone of not telling the truth but in this case, I have no choice but to again deny the claims against me, remind people that I was recused of any wrongdoing, and put the matter to rest.”
FELLOW STAR CALLS FOR HIM TO STEP DOWN
- Fellow ABC star Bellamy Young has called for Seacrest to step down.
- “I think this is the time to step aside and let someone of equal talent that is beyond reproach to be in charge,” Scandal‘s Young said from the premiere of A Wrinkle in Time on Monday, according to Variety. “It’s funny because I know it feels like the rules have changed so I’m sure people who have been in dominant positions are taken by surprise, many of them living in fear, many of them thinking, ‘But this is how we said we’d act.’ But we never said that. We never consented. Now that someone is asking, ‘Do you consent,’ and we get to say ‘No,’ people have to accept our no and step aside.”