Ryan Seacrest Hosts E!'s Oscars Red Carpet Show Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations
Months after his former stylist first accused Ryan Seacrest of sexual abuse and harassment, the 43-year-old TV personality appeared to be handling business as usual on E!’s Live from the Red Carpet Oscars special Sunday night, among some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
The 43-year-old welcomed viewers to E!'s broadcast and briefly chatted with co-host Giuliana Rancic about what to expect from the evening and then shared details about his suit (a piece from his own Macy's Ryan Seacrest Distinction collection). Notably, he did not wear a Time's Up pin or kick off the first segment with any mention either of the allegations against him or the #MeToo movement.
E’s red carpet special is just one of several pre-shows airing Sunday. ABC kicks off their coverage at 7 p.m. ET with Michael Strahan and Sara Haines as hosts of its Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live from the Red Carpet special, in addition to the People and Entertainment Weekly Red Carpet Live pre-show which airs from 5 p.m. ET.
So did any celebrities call out Seacrest for the accusations against him? According to The Hollywood Reporter, E! aired its coverage with a 30-second delay to prevent any backlash against him to be edited out, though the network told InStyle that they were taking a business as usual approach to the evening.
An E! spokesperson said that delaying celebrity interviews is not new for them. "It’s business as usual. As always, we tape multiple sources of content simultaneously to deliver the best possible show, and there are often brief delays between interviews."
Seacrest first spoke with Oscar-nominated song writer Diane Warren and celebrities like Miguel, and later interviewed Allison Janney, who is nominated for best actress in a supporting role for her work in I, Tonya. The conversation was short, and they only spoke about her nomination, why it was important to her, and how friends of hers celebrated her nomination. "I'm not someone that's easy to surprise ... and that morning at 5 a.m. friends flew in from New York and Washington, D.C., came into my bedroom, and jumped on my bed ... I didn't know what was happening. It was just the best morning," she told Seacrest.
Later, co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Kristin dos Santos, who were live from the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel and not next to Seacrest, briefly discussed the Time's Up movement. Dos Santos shared facts about inequality in Hollywood, saying only four percent of women are directors, and telling female viewers at home to "go for it" and "follow your dreams." Seacrest did not participate in that brief exchange.
The E! host did have a very positive interaction with nominee Mary J. Blige, who greeted him with a kiss on the cheek and told Seacrest that she "loves" him on his show, Live with Kelly and Ryan.
The timeline of accusations against Seacrest is a complicated one. In November 2017, news broke that a former E! wardrobe stylist claimed that he behaved inappropriately towards her, though we learned this in a statement Seacrest released ahead of any public accusation.
"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, moving on to explain that he’s an “advocate for women," pledging to “continue to support their voices.”
Later, E! opened and then closed an investigation into the allegations and concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to take action against Seacrest. Shortly after, he wrote an essay for The Hollywood Reporter in which he discussed being “wrongfully accused of harassment,” saying it was “gut-wrenching.”
"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, adding that he wanted to stand behind the change and progress of the #MeToo movement.
On February 26, Seacrest’s accuser Suzie Hardy went public in a Variety report with new details about her claims. She claimed the investigator that E! hired never contacted the witnesses she referred to originally. E! proceeded to refute Hardy’s claims, and Seacrest’s attorney called them “false claims,” telling Variety they were “untrue.”
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The network decided to keep Seacrest as the host of the red carpet special, to which Hardy responded by standing by her story. “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 told Variety. “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.”
A former co-worker of Hardy’s then told NBC News that he in fact witnessed Seacrest harassing her. "She would go to tie his shoe and Ryan would shove her head toward his crotch," he said anonymously. His girlfriend, Shayna Taylor, then joined the conversation, sharing an Instagram post in which she called him a "well mannered, civil, gracious, loving, kind human being."
Kelly Ripa, Seacrest's Live with Kelly and Ryan co-host, also stood by his side.