Ryan Seacrest accused of sexual harassment by former stylist

Seacrest criticized ‘reckless’ allegations and E! says an investigation concluded finding ‘insufficient’ evidence of wrongdoing

Ryan Seacrest has been accused of sexual harassment by a former personal stylist.

Suzie Hardy told Variety that the TV presenter subjected her to unwanted and aggressive advances, including groping her vagina, while she worked with him on E! News.

Seacrest, known for hosting American Idol and Live with Kelly and Ryan, had originally gone public with the allegations in November after being contacted by Hardy’s lawyer. He called the accusations “reckless” and earlier this month, E! announced that an investigation had concluded finding “insufficient” evidence of wrongdoing.

In a new interview with Variety, Hardy has spoken for the first time, detailing her time working with Seacrest from 2007 to 2013. She claims that Seacrest developed an attraction to her and would hug her while wearing only underwear, repeatedly cup her crotch with his hand, slap her, grab her vagina and on one occasion, he allegedly threw her on a bed and rubbed up against her with an erection.

“I didn’t know how to deal with it,” she said. “I really didn’t. I was battling finally being in a decent financial position to breathe and be a mom, that I didn’t have to be freaking out all the time, and then dealing with this infantile celebrity person who was testing me on every level and manipulating me and knew that I was in a vulnerable position.”

Hardy said in Variety she told colleagues about his behavior and was approached by HR in 2013. She told them about his treatment and two weeks later, she was told that her employment would be terminated soon after.

She sought therapy in the years after and once other allegations against members of the entertainment industry were made at the end of 2017, she raised the issue again with E! and obtained a lawyer. In a column entitled “What Happened After I Was Wrongly Accused of Harassment”, Seacrest then detailed his experience. “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.”

The ensuing investigation by E! was called “comprehensive and thorough” by a spokesperson while Hardy claims the investigator failed to contact four key witnesses who she said would corroborate her story.

Seacrest’s lawyer called the Variety story “upsetting” and “untrue” while claiming that Hardy was seeking $15m from him. Hardy’s lawyer claims that she hasn’t asked for money from Seacrest or E! and no evidence of this monetary request has been found.


Benjamin Lee

The GuardianTramp