Ryan Seacrest will host E!’s red-carpet preshow on Sunday as planned, despite detailed allegations published in Variety Monday that he sexually assaulted a former stylist, an E! rep confirmed to the Cut Monday night.
Variety’s story was a more detailed accounting of allegations that surfaced in November. In February, after a two-month investigation into the alleged incidents by an independent counsel, E! said that it found “insufficient evidence to substantiate allegations against Seacrest.” Yesterday, the network issued a statement reiterating its stance:
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 hosting the preshow puts the network in an awkward position. Though any statement celebrities make about #MeToo on the red carpet may not be as big as that of the Globes, where every actress attending wore black in solidarity with the movement and sexual-assault victims, the movement is bound to be a discussion topic on the carpet.
One of E!’s most viral moments from the Golden Globes occurred when Debra Messing told Seacrest’s fellow host Giuliana Rancic on live TV that E! should pay women the same as men, citing recently departed Catt Sadler, who said she left the network when she learned that her male co-host made twice as much money as her.
Variety described Seacrest’s alleged abuse of his former stylist, Suzie Hardy, as “years of unwanted sexual aggression — grinding his erect penis against her while clad only in his underwear, groping her vagina, and at one point slapping her buttock so hard that it left a large welt still visible hours later.” Hardy told the paper that E! never contacted her witnesses. Variety corroborated her account with multiple sources.
The Cut has reached out to Hardy and Time’s Up for comment.
Seacrest sent the following statement to The Cut in response to the Variety story:
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.
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. 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.