Ryan Seacrest is once again vehemently denying his former stylist's allegations that he sexually harassed her while they worked together from 2007-2013.
The 43-year-old television personality sent out a statement on Tuesday, in response to a Variety report published on Monday detailing stylist Suzie Hardy's allegations. 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 -- 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."
In a lengthy statement, Seacrest reiterated his support for the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, and stressed that in his case, he was "investigated by an independent third-party" which "found insufficient evidence to support the claims."
"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 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 added that Variety didn't speak with him before publishing the report.
"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," he says. "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 continues. "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."
On Tuesday, Variety Co-Editors in Chief Claudia Eller and Andrew Wallenstein sent out their own statement claiming they did ask to speak to Seacrest directly, but his reps declined to make him available. They also claim they asked to see the alleged evidence that was obtained discrediting Hardy, but that his reps also refused to provide it.
“Responding to a quote by Ryan Seacrest in a Hollywood Reporter story posted today, in which Seacrest claims that 'Variety didn’t speak with me' or even ask for evidence obtained during the investigation of sexual misconduct allegations, we want to set the record straight... We spent one hour on the phone yesterday (2/26) with Seacrest attorney, Andrew Baum, and his publicist, Kelly Mullens Brown, speaking on background about the story that our reporter Dan Holloway was writing," the statement reads. "We asked to speak to Seacrest directly and his reps declined to make him available. Seacrest’s reps claimed to have evidence discrediting the accuser, Suzie Hardy, but refused to provide that as well, citing legal restrictions.”
Meanwhile, on Monday, ET also obtained a statement from an E! spokesperson, who called the network's investigation into the allegations against Seacrest "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 statement reads. "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."
This isn't the first time Seacrest has spoken out to deny sexual harassment allegations against him. Earlier this month, Seacrest denied the allegations in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, in which he claimed he was "wrongly accused of harassment."
"To have my workplace conduct questioned was gut-wrenching," he wrote. "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."
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