Ryan Seacrest’s Former Stylist Details Alleged Sexual Harassment
A stylist who worked with American Idol host Ryan Seacrest at E! has come forward in a report from Variety to detail what she says was years of sexual harassment she endured from the TV and radio personality.
Suzie Hardy was a single mom with a young daughter when she landed a job with E! News in 2007. She worked as Seacrest's personal stylist from 2007-2013, and she tells the entertainment business publication that it was a dream job for a freelancer, since it provided not only a stable paycheck, but hours that allowed her to pick up her daughter from school on most days.
She says that as time went on, it became clear that Seacrest was interested in her romantically and sexually, and what began as odd behavior — giving her unwanted attention, forcing hugs on her while he was in his underwear and more — turned more and more aggressive. Hardy says Seacrest eventually engaged in a pattern of harassment and abuse that included asking her blatant sexual questions, rubbing his erections against her forcefully against her will, grabbing her buttocks and genitals and pushing her head into his crotch while she was tying his shoes. She says E! terminated her employment in 2013 after a long conversation with the network's human resources department during which she detailed all of Seacrest's alleged conduct. Hardy states that HR approached her over rumors, and not the other way around.
The detailed report from Variety comes months after Seacrest made sexual harassment claims public in a denial in November of 2017. Seacrest did not name Hardy at that time, but said he was cooperating fully with E!'s investigation into the matter. The network later found that there was "insufficient evidence" to support the claims of harassment.
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Hardy tells Variety that E!'s statement, along with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that have been sweeping Hollywood and the country, prompted her to come forward, identify herself publicly and share her story. She gave E!'s investigator three interviews, and she alleges that the results were deliberately slanted to favor Seacrest. Even worse, Seacrest would go on to write a guest column or the Hollywood Reporter titled 'What Happened After I Was Wrongly Accused of Harassment.'
"Total exasperation was my definite feeling when I heard about it," Hardy says of E!'s findings. "I felt like by the third interview, it was obvious the investigator was whitewashing it for Seacrest’s side.”
Hardy says E!'s investigator failed to follow up on four witnesses who could have substantiated various parts of her claims. Variety spoke to some of those witnesses for its story, and those people did confirm various aspects of Hardy's allegations, some as direct witnesses, and some having heard her contemporary accounts of the events when she says they happened.
"E!’s investigation was extremely comprehensive and thorough," an E! spokesperson tells Variety. "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. 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."
Seacrest's attorney, Andrew Baum, claims Hardy tried to extort $15 million from Seacrest for her silence, saying, "It’s telling that after my client refused to pay her money, and the E! investigation resulted as it did, that she is now coming forward to share her debunked story to the press."
Hardy’s attorney that neither tells Variety that neither he nor Hardy has asked Seacrest, E! or the cable company's parent company for any financial settlement. According to Variety, "Seacrest’s representatives provided no evidence that a monetary request was made."
Seacrest continues to deny the allegations.
He currently co-hosts Live With Kelly & Ryan on ABC. Seacrest returns in his longtime role as the host of American Idol when the show premieres on its new network, ABC, on March 11, with Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan serving as judges for the re-boot.
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