Disclaimer: This article details graphic incidents of sexual assault and abuse. Please contact RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) at 800.656.HOPE to speak with a trained staff member about sexual assault if you need help. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
Back in Nov. 2017, a letter from the attorney of Ryan Seacrest’s stylist of 10 years, Suzie Hardy, accused Seacrest of multiple years of unwanted sexual aggression. The aggression, with detailed accounts of groping and unprovoked touching, ended in 2013, after Hardy was terminated when she reported these accounts to human-resources executives. Seacrest has since profusely denied all these allegations and continued to show his support for the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements. Back in November, Seacrest explained that Hardy’s claims were “reckless allegations” after Hardy’s lawyer called for an investigation. Three months later, E! released a statement declaring the investigation had concluded and said there were “insufficient evidence to support the claims against Seacrest.” It is important to keep in mind that Seacrest hosts and produces various programs on E!, including Keeping Up With the Kardashians, where he is an executive producer. In addition, he produces the E! News segment and hosts many live red-carpet awards shows for the company. Basically, he has his hands in every cookie jar that E! has, and it should be considered that E!’s statement be taken with a grain of salt. Ryan Seacrest is an incredibly popular and powerful man in Hollywood, as he also has heavy influence with NBCUniversal, E!’s parent company, as he has had parts in the Today Show, Olympics coverage, and other pop culture news and events.
It is quite likely that if Hardy’s allegations are true, E!, NBC, and Seacrest’s team have worked hard to quickly cover it up, due to the fact Seacrest has so much power and influence in Hollywood. It is also interesting to point out that Hardy did not request money from Seacrest despite these claims. If she was lying, wouldn’t her goal be to get money from Seacrest, considering he has millions? Hardy explains in her claims that her close relationship with Seacrest’s assistant gave her insight on his romantic involvement in Hardy, as his assistant asked questions about her personal life and Seacrest, saying “he has a crush on you,” or “he’s really into you.” Seacrest asked Hardy to come over to his house one night around 8:00 p.m. alone, to tie a necktie. Hardy also claimed that Seacrest hugged her in just his underwear on many occasions, in which she felt uncomfortable.
“I didn’t know how to deal with it,” she told Variety. “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.”
In the November letter, Hardy also explained that an incident occurred in 2008, where Seacrest slid his hand under Hardy’s crotch. A former co-worker of Hardy’s at “E! News” Hardy explained this incident to this co-worker at the time that it allegedly occurred, and also said there were several times when Seacrest hugged her against her will. The co-worker also said that he saw Seacrest trip Hardy on numerous occasions, and that he viewed Seacrest multiple times push Hardy’s head into his crotch while she was tying his shoes, all according to Variety. Hardy also provided a photo to E! and Variety of her backside with a large red welt, from an incident where Seacrest allegedly forcefully slapped Hardy’s backside. Also in this letter, Hardy details an incident taking place in a hotel room before the Academy Awards, where Seacrest, with a visible erection, grabbed Hardy, slammed her on the bed, and climbed on top of her and began rubbing himself against her until Hardy’s co-worker yelled at him to stop. In 2010, Hardy’s letter accuses Seacrest of asking her about her relationship with another man, asking if she had “f–ked him yet?” and then tightly grabbing her vagina when she told him not to ask such questions, which caused her to run to the bathroom in tears.
It is important to note that during this investigation, multiple co-workers and friends of Hardy reported to E! and Variety explaining that they recalled Hardy explaining these incidences and the times they allegedly occurred.
Hardy also explained to Variety that in 2013, HR sought out her, where she explained all the incidences of when Seacrest assaulted and harassed her. Then, two weeks later, she was notified that her employment at E! would end a week after the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony, and she had no further in-person contact with Seacrest.
Hardy explained she felt empowered to speak up about the abuse she suffered with the rise of the #MeToo movement, and she felt shocked when she read Seacrest’s guest column in The Hollywood Reporter titled “What Happened After I Was Wrongly Accused of Harassment”.
In the days since Variety’s article on the allegations had been published, Seacrest’s support has been dwindling. According to Entertainment Weekly, viewership of the Oscar’s Preshow hosted by Seacrest went down by 35 percent. Twitter has taken to further publicize these allegations, with a Twitter Moment last week explaining the basics of Hardy’s accusations. With the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, it seems a bit hypocritical of Hollywood to so quickly brush these allegations under the rug, because of Seacrest’s power and popularity, when these movements are about exposing the wrongdoings of powerful figures in Hollywood. Seacrest has multiple ties with E!, NBC, and now ABC, with being the co-host of Live! With Kelly and Ryan, and his upcoming return to the American Idol reboot. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that Seacrest will be shunned from Hollywood, especially since the investigation has closed. All we can do now is continue to spread awareness about his accusations and hope that the investigation can be reopened. Seacrest’s unscathed career is an example of how power can cover corruption, and how the #TimesUp and #MeToo initiatives cannot work unless society can put money behind people.