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Ryan Seacrest Scandal: Producers Will Reportedly Prearrange Oscars Red Carpet Interviews
During Thursday's live broadcast, the talk show host praised Seacrest's professionalism while they were discussing his plans to host E!'s red carpet Oscars coverage on Sunday. Ripa made it clear that she fully supports Seacrest, who has vehemently denied his former personal stylist Suzie Hardy's allegations that he sexually harassed her while they worked together from 2007-2013.
"I cannot wait to see you there," Ripa exclaimed. "I am very excited. And I just want you to know, you are a privilege to work with and I adore you."
"Speaking on behalf of all of us here," she continued, "I know what an easy, professional, great person you are, and I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day."
Following Ripa's kind words, the two hugged it out.
As ET previously reported, Hardy first accused Seacrest of sexual harassment last November. Seacrest immediately denied her allegations, calling them "reckless" in a statement. He also denied the allegations in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter last month, claiming he was "wrongly accused of harassment."
Hardy detailed the sexual harassment allegations she made against the 43-year-old TV host in a story published on Variety's website on Monday. Variety reported they obtained a letter from Hardy's attorney, which was allegedly written last November and addressed to cable channel E!, its corporate parent NBCUniveral and Seacrest. According to the outlet, Hardy alleged that Seacrest subjected her to "years of unwanted sexual aggression."
Seacrest denied the detailed allegations in a statement sent out on Tuesday in response to the article, reiterating his support for the #MeToo and Time's Up movements. He also stressed that in his case, he was "investigated by an independent third-party" which "found insufficient evidence to support the claims." ET obtained a statement from an E! spokesperson on Monday, who called the network's investigation into the allegations against Seacrest "extremely comprehensive and thorough."
"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," Seacrest's latest statement reads. "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," the statement continues. "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 accused 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."
Seacrest also claimed that Variety didn't speak with him before publishing the report. Variety Co-Editors in Chief Claudia Eller and Andrew Wallenstein have since disputed this, saying they sent out their own statement claiming they did ask to speak to Seacrest directly, but his reps declined to make him available.
"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," Seacrest said in his statement. "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 offered, on multiple occasions, to withdraw her claims if I paid her millions of dollars," the statement continued. "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."
Hardy provided a statement to Variety on Tuesday, denying Seacrest's latest claims.
"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," the statement read. "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."