As more details are released about Ryan Seacrest’s alleged sexual harassment of his former stylist Suzie Hardy, E! is standing by their longtime red carpet host.
The allegations first came to light in November, but Hardy’s specific claims were made public in a new piece by Variety on Monday. The report alleges that Seacrest subjected her to “years of unwanted sexual aggression,” including verbal harassment and slapping and groping her while in his underwear. Seacrest has disputed the allegations, and E! says an investigation into his behavior found “insufficient evidence” to confirm misconduct occurred.
On Monday, E! issued a new statement about their process. “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. 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,” the statement read.
That same day, E! confirmed to The Cut that Seacrest will host their Oscars red carpet pre-show as planned Sunday night. Their live coverage from the Dolby Theater begins at 5 p.m. ET on E!, while ABC's Oscars red carpet pre-show starts at 6:30 p.m. ET. The 2018 Oscars will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Seacrest released a new statement on Tuesday. “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,” he said, according to TheWrap.
The Oscars red carpet does not have a publicly announced all-black dress code protest like the Golden Globes, but the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements will doubtlessly still play a role, both during the pre-show and the ceremony. If Seacrest goes forward with interviewing celebrities on the red carpet, it'll put him in a unique situation. If he doesn’t bring up Time’s Up or #MeToo, he’ll likely be criticized for ignoring them. But if he asks about the movement, he will be opening himself up to questions about his own sexual assault allegations.
Seacrest hosted E!'s 2018 Golden Globes pre-show, two months after the allegations first came out, and was criticized for his interviews in which he didn’t ask about Time’s Up or interrupted supporters while they were responding. Now that the specific (disgusting) allegations against him have come out, there’s no doubt the public outcry would be even greater.
While he did wear all black to the Golden Globes, Seacrest did not wear a Time’s Up pin when he hosted E!'s Golden Globes red carpet coverage. When he hosted the Grammys weeks later, he wore a white rose, which artists used to represent standing in solidarity with the movement.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Seacrest’s outfit and his action come Oscars night.