Former stylist goes public with Ryan Seacrest allegations

Updated: "I have no choice but to again deny the claims against me," says US host and producer.

Questions loom over US host Ryan Seacrest’s upcoming red carpet duties at the Academy Awards and an American Idol reboot after his former personal stylist accused him of sexually abusing and harassing her for years.

Suzie Hardy told Variety that Seacrest started sexually harassing her soon after she landed a job as his personal stylist at E! News in 2006. She claims she endured the unwanted, sexually aggressive touching, groping and attention for fear of losing her job. In 2013, when Hardy reported the alleged workplace abuse to her company’s human resources department, she says she was fired.

“Recently, someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago at E! News, came forward with a complaint suggesting I behaved inappropriately toward her. If I made her feel anything but respected, I am truly sorry. I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result,” Seacrest said in a statement in November.

E! announced in January that its investigation had concluded with “insufficient” evidence of wrongdoing.

Hardy told Variety that she was opting to speak out, saying the investigator was whitewashing Seacrest’s side of the story.

Seacrest’s lawyer, Adam Baum, said in a statement that “it is upsetting” that Variety chose to run Hardy’s “untrue allegations”.

“They were told that the accuser threatened to make those false claims against him unless he paid her $15 million,” Baum said.

An E! spokesperson told Variety that questioning the legitimacy of its investigation is “completely baseless.”

UPDATE: Seacrest responds: “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,” Seacrest said in a 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. 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.”

Variety denies he was not approached.

Meanwhile Scandal actress Bellamy Young in a spectacularly-worded backflip, now retracts her comments that Seacrest should not host the Oscars red carpet.

“I just want to clarify that anyone who uses my quote going forward is using the quote of an uninformed person and fanning the flames of a non-story by making use of an unwitting accomplice. I’ve learned that ‘I don’t know’ can be a complete answer. I will do better next time.”

Source: TIME