Ryan Seacrest Denies Sexual Abuse Accusations by Former Stylist Suzie Hardy
Just one week before the E! Live from the Red Carpet Oscars special, the show's frequent host Ryan Seacrest has been accused of sexual abuse and harassment in a detailed account by a former stylist.
In a report by Variety, Seacrest's former personal stylist Suzie Hardy comes forward with new details of her story and alleges that Seacrest subjected her to "years of unwanted sexual aggression," ranging from verbal harassment to slapping and groping her while in his underwear.
Hardy's specific new claims come after the allegations first came to light in November. Here's a look at the timeline of events.
In November 2017, THR reported that Seacrest had been accused of sexual misconduct.
Nov. 17: News breaks that a former E! wardrobe stylist claimed that Seacrest was inappropriate toward her nearly a decade prior while she worked for him. Her accusation was not publicly made, but the information became available because Seacrest speak out to dispute the allegations.
"Recently, someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago at E! News, came forward with a complaint suggesting I behaved inappropriately toward her. If I made her feel anything but respected, I am truly sorry. I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result," he said in a statement released to The Hollywood Reporter.
"I treat all my colleagues with kindness, dignity, and understanding, as this is a principle that's core to who I am. Throughout my 25 years in the entertainment industry, the majority of my co-workers have been women, and I've endeavored to foster a positive work environment of mutual respect and courtesy, as that's how I believe it should be," he added. "I'm distraught that anyone or any situation would call that into question. I'm proud of my workplace reputation, and believe my track record will speak for itself. I'm an advocate for women. I will continue to support their voices."
The E! network opened an investigation into the allegations.
Nov 17: An E! spokesperson confirmed that the network was looking into the former stylist's allegations internally. “We can confirm that we have started an investigation,” the representative told People.
According to Variety, the investigation was conducted by an outside counsel hired by NBCUniversal.
The E! investigation concluded and found "insufficient evidence" to confirm misconduct occurred.
Feb 1, 2018: E! released a statement to InStyle saying that the network would take no action against Seacrest, citing "insufficient evidence."
"E! has now concluded the investigation into allegations regarding Ryan Seacrest. The investigation, conducted by outside counsel, found insufficient evidence to substantiate allegations against Seacrest. E! is committed to providing a safe working environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.”
Seacrest releases a column about being "wrongfully accused of harassment."
Feb 5: Seacrest wrote about the accusations in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter.
"This arrived during an unprecedented public reckoning by women in our industry and beyond, courageously coming forward to share their stories, many of them heartbreaking. These women sought to bring attention to the systemic gender inequality that has occurred for decades. I was—and am—amazed at their bravery," he wrote.
"To have my workplace conduct questioned was gut-wrenching. I’ve always aimed to treat all of my colleagues with honesty, respect, kindness and compassion. Yet, I knew, regardless of the confidence I had that there was no merit to the allegations, my name would likely soon appear on the lists of those suspected of despicable words and deeds. The pressures of our overflowing newsfeeds would insist on it."
Seacrest went on to say he wanted to be part of the change and progress, and he received a notice from an "independent third party" that found the claims against him to be unsubstantiated.
"Most of us agree that the presumption of innocence is an important standard. We are taught early on that it’s essential to see all sides, to give everyone a chance to explain and to check for exculpatory evidence that may have been missed. At a time when improper interactions between men and women, particularly in the workplace, are part of a national conversation, we must find a way to ensure that everyone—the public, private and public institutions, accusers and alleged accused—is given the opportunity for a swift and fair review," he wrote.
Seacrest's accuser Suzie Hardy goes public with her account.
Feb 26: A few weeks after Seacrest wrote about the accusations, and one week before the Oscars red carpet, Hardy detailed her accusations—and named herself as the accuser—to Variety.
She alleged that Seacrest subjected her to years of unwanted sexual aggression, including groping her, slapping her, and grinding himself against her while only in his underwear.
“I didn’t know how to deal with it,” she said. “I really didn’t. I was battling finally being in a decent financial position to breathe and be a mom, that I didn’t have to be freaking out all the time, and then dealing with this infantile celebrity person who was testing me on every level and manipulating me and knew that I was in a vulnerable position.”
Hardy claimed that the independent investigator never contacted the four witnesses she had referred him to who could confirm her story.
“I felt like by the third interview, it was obvious the investigator was whitewashing it for Seacrest’s side," she said.
An E! spokesperson refutes Hardy's claims.
Feb 26: In a statement to InStyle, an E! spokesperson spoke about the allegations.
“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.”
Seacrest’s attorney calls the allegations "untrue" describes them as "false claims."
Feb 26: Seacrest’s attorney, Andrew Baum, told Variety, “It is upsetting to us that Variety is electing to run a ‘story’ about untrue allegations that were made against my client, after they were told that the accuser threatened to make those false claims against him unless he paid her $15 million. At that time, the claimant threatened to issue a demonstrably false press statement unless she was paid. Instead, my client proactively and publicly denied the claims and agreed to fully cooperate with E!’s investigation about the matter.”
“On Jan. 31 the network notified us that their independent third-party investigation had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support her claims, effectively, clearing my client’s name," he continued. "It’s telling that after my client refused to pay her money, and the E! investigation resulted as it did, that she is now coming forward to share her debunked story to the press.”
E! confirms that Seacrest will still host its Oscars red carpet special.
Feb. 26: Following the publication of his former stylist Suzie Hardy's new, more detailed allegations, a representative for E! affirmed that Seacrest would still host the network's Oscars red carpet special.
Scandal star Bellamy Young says Seacrest shouldn't host E!'s red carpet show.
Feb 26: On the red carpet at the A Wrinkle in Time premiere, Young commented on whether or not Seacrest should give up his red-carpet hosting duties at the Oscars because of the sexual harassment allegations. “This is the time to step aside and let someone of equal talent that is beyond reproach to be in charge,” she told Variety.
Seacrest releases a new statement, and Hardy responds.
Feb. 27: “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.
After Seacrest's statement was released, Hardy gave a response to Variety.
“I remained quiet for years out of fears that my story wouldn’t be believed and that I would be subject to scorn and ridicule for telling it,” Hardy said. “I was emboldened by the bravery of others to finally and confidentially tell my story to NBC. Ryan elected to take the story public with a false narrative that he was exonerated and the victim of some sort of money grab. He is not the victim, and I refuse to let him victimize me for telling the truth.”
Bellamy Young publicly apologizes for saying Seacrest should not host the Oscars red carpet.
Feb. 27: In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Young retracted her remarks about Seacrest and issued an apology and said she wasn't given the full story by the reporter who asked her about the host.
"I apologize to Ryan Seacrest," she said. "He has been exonerated from the allegations I was told about on the carpet, so my opinion is different now. I just want to clarify that anyone who uses my quote going forward is using the quote of an uninformed person and fanning the flames of a non-story by making use of an unwitting accomplice. I’ve learned that ‘I don’t know’ can be a complete answer. I will do better next time."
NBC News reports that a former co-worker has come forward saying that Seacrest did sexually harass Hardy.
Feb. 28: "She would go to tie his shoe and Ryan would shove her head toward his crotch," a former co-worker told NBC's Kate Snow in an exclusive that aired on the Today show. "I saw that more than once."
NBC says the co-worker is remaining anonymous because he still works in Hollywood.
Seacrest's girlfriend Shayna Taylor speaks out.
Feb. 28: Seacrest has kept posting on social media like normal throughout the scandal, but his girlfriend Shayna Taylor chose to post an Instagram with a caption speaking to Seacrest's character amid the allegations against him with a hashtag #teamseacrest.
"I love you so much Ryan. You are the most respectful, well mannered, civil, gracious, loving, kind human being," she wrote. "I have known you for 6 years and every day you impress me with your kindness. Not only to me or your friends and family, but most importantly in your work environment. You have worked SO hard to be where you are and you deserve it. #iloveyou #foreversupportyou #teamryan #teamseacrest."
Jennifer Lawrence says she isn't sure if she'd speak to Seacrest on the Oscars red carpet.
Feb 28: J. Law will be hitting the Oscars red carpet Sunday, but she's not sure yet if she will make a point to speak to Seacrest at all. Howard Stern asked her about Seacrest during his Wednesday show, to which she said "I can't imagine him being sexual."
“Umm, I don’t know,” she said. “I mean, there is a lot to think about with E!, you know? I have always had a problem with the Fashion Police. I don’t have a problem with talking about what women are wearing. There was a time they were ... they were just mean about people’s bodies, things you shouldn’t say.”
When Howard pressed her and asked if she planned on doing an interview with Seacrest, she was honest.
“I don’t know about the Ryan Seacrest thing," she said. "I think it is scary, you know. He has not been to trial for anything. I am not a judge. I am not a jury, you know. I don’t know ... that is where this stuff gets tricky.”
One of Seacrest's stylists publicly comes to his defense.
Feb. 28: Jayson Stacy, Seacrest's stylist and makeup artist of 13 years, spoke to People about the allegations.
“There has never been any ill words spoken to me about him,” Stacy said. “He’s never been mean. With women, there’s so many females that work with us. ... I never once heard anyone say that he’s done anything to make them feel uncomfortable—that he’s been mean to them, that they wanted to leave their job because of him.”
Kelly Ripa defends Seacrest on their TV show Live with Kelly and Ryan.
March 1: With only a few days left until the Oscars, Ripa took time to defend her co-host during their show.
“I cannot wait to see you there [at the Oscars],” she said. “I am very excited.”
“And I just want you to know, you are a privilege to work with and I adore you," she continued. "I know what a professional, great person you are, and I feel very, very blessed to work with you each and every day.”
E! confirms Thursday that Seacrest will still host the Oscars red carpet.
March 1: In a statement to InStyle, the network said: "E! can confirm that Ryan will be hosting E!’s Live from the Red Carpet for Oscars as scheduled."
Seacrest hosted the Oscars red carpet as planned.
March 4: As previously planned, Seacrest hosted the E! red carpet show without mention of the allegations. Celebrity interviews were on a time delay, but an E! spokesperson clarified that this was not new for them.
"It’s business as usual," they said in a statement to InStyle. "As always, we tape multiple sources of content simultaneously to deliver the best possible show, and there are often brief delays between interviews."
Seacrest's accuser filed a police report against him.
March 29: In a lengthy story for The Hollywood Reporter, Suzie Hardy addressed Seacrest hosting the Oscars red carpet and also revealed that she has filed a police report against him.
"I recently contacted the LAPD and filed a police report so I'm guaranteed a real investigation this time," she wrote. "Ryan's team of lawyers, who are also representing Harvey Weinstein, do not intimidate me. If Ryan is so innocent, why hasn't he called me a liar or sued me or presented evidence of my so-called extortion plot?"
In a response statement also included in the THR report, Seacrest's attorney Andrew Baum addressed the development.
"After Mr. Seacrest denied each and every one of Ms. Hardy’s decade old claims, after Mr. Seacrest refused to pay Ms. Hardy any money whatsoever, and after an independent legal investigation did not support her claims, Ms. Hardy went to the press attacking the legitimacy of the investigation. Now, after being refused money and unhappy with the independent legal investigation, Ms. Hardy now claims to have spoken to the authorities. We will continue to cooperate and we remain confident that Mr. Seacrest will once again be cleared of any wrongdoing."