The E! stylist who accused Ryan Seacrest of sexual misconduct is now detailing her allegations, including that he grabbed her crotch multiple times.
Kelly Ripa is firmly Ryan Seacrest’s corner: On Thursday, she told her co-host, who was accused of sexual harassment in a now-concluded E! investigation, she considers it a “privilege” to work with him.
The effort by Seacrest’s accuser, ex-stylist Suzie Hardy, to shame him into being fired or withdrawing from co-hosting the E! network’s Oscars red carpet coverage Sunday hasn’t been widely embraced, and definitely not by Ripa, Seacrest’s co-host on Live with Kelly and Ryan.
On Thursday on their show, she told him she can’t wait to see him on the carpet Sunday.
“I am very excited and I just want you to know, you are a privilege to work with and I adore you,” Ripa said as the audience cheered. “Speaking on behalf of all of us here, I know what an easy, professional, great person you are, and I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day.”
E! has already confirmed Seacrest, 43, will be on the job Sunday night in Los Angeles, just as he will be returning as host of American Idol on ABC on March 11. And he’s not being dumped from Live with Kelly and Ryan, either. Not if Ripa has anything to do with it — and she does.
Ryan Seacrest has defenders: Ryan Seacrest’s girlfriend defends him against sexual misconduct allegations
Thursday’s testimonial followed Wednesday’s effusive Instagram tribute to Seacrest posted by his girlfriend, 25-year-old model Shayna Taylor, defending him as “the most respectful, well mannered, civil, gracious, loving, kind human being.” She posted this next to a picture of herself with Seacrest against an ocean sunset.
These accolades from women close to him seem aimed at refuting allegations of unwanted touching and groping that Hardy says Seacrest subjected her to during the six years she worked for him as a personal stylist starting in 2007. She graphically detailed her allegations in a story published Monday in Variety.
The testimonials may also be intended to downplay unverified rumors that A-list celebrities might avoid Seacrest on the Oscars red carpet in light of the Me Too movement in Hollywood.
The E! network investigated the allegations against Seacrest and concluded they were unsubstantiated, as Seacrest keeps reiterating. He and his lawyer, Andrew Baum, have accused Hardy of demanding Seacrest pay her $15 million to keep quiet about her claims. Seacrest issued a lengthy statement Tuesday declaring that he refused to be extorted.
“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,” the statement said.
On Wednesday, a male former co-worker of Hardy’s told NBC News he backs her claims, saying he witnessed some of Seacrest’s alleged behavior. But he did not do so on camera and NBC withheld his name because he fears retaliation, so his testimony could not be independently verified. (E! and NBC are sister networks, both owned by NBC Universal.)
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