Ryan Seacrest Responds To The Sexual Harassment Allegations With A Lengthy New Statement
Last November, Ryan Seacrest was accused of harassment by his former wardrobe stylist at E!. Seacrest denied the sexual harassment allegations from the start, and then denied them again through a statement from his attorney in the wake of a recent Variety report published on Monday, Feb. 26. In the aftermath of Variety's report, which identified the stylist as Suzie Hardy and detailed her claims about the alleged abuse, Seacrest responded to the sexual assault allegations with a new statement on Tuesday afternoon. "This person who has accused me of horrible things tried to buy her silence by asking for money on multiple occasions — I refused," he said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Seacrest's statement opens by acknowledging how important it is to encourage women to speak up about workplace misconduct (especially now, in the midst of Hollywood's Time's Up movement). "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," the statement read, continuing on to say that Seacrest supports the cause "unequivocally" and commends "all the brave souls who have come forward to share their stories."
As reported by THR, Seacrest's statement continued,
Bustle reached out to Hardy's attorney for comment on this new statement, but did not receive an immediate response. Update: On Tuesday, Hardy released a statement to Variety that read:
Earlier: Variety's report marks the first time Hardy has gone public with her allegations. She first accused Seacrest of harassment last November, though her identity — as well as the details of the accusations — remained unknown. Seacrest responded to the allegations almost immediately, calling them "reckless" and denying them fiercely. At the time, Seacrest agreed to cooperate with E!'s internal investigation into the claims. Almost three months later, at the beginning of February, the network reported that it had completed its investigation (which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, was spearheaded by outside counsel hired by NBCUniversal) and found "insufficient evidence to support the claims."
According to Variety's report, Hardy's decision to go public with the allegations was prompted, in large part, by Seacrest's response to the investigation's findings, as well as the findings themselves. Following the investigation's conclusion, Seacrest penned a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter (published on Feb. 5) titled, "What Happened After I Was Wrongly Accused of Harassment." In the column, Seacrest denied the claims once again. He wrote,
According to Variety's recent report, Hardy was both "shocked and insulted" when she read Seacrest's guest column. And encouraged by the momentum of the #MeToo movement, she decided to speak out about her alleged experience.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.