New details have emerged in stylist Suzie Hardy’s sexual-misconduct allegations against radio and TV personality Ryan Seacrest.
Variety on Monday reported that in a letter from Hardy’s attorney to E!, where Seacrest, 43, had worked as an “E! News” executive producer and host, the stylist described unwanted sexual attention such as groping her, grinding up against her and hugging her while in his underwear. Hardy, who began working for Seacrest in 2006, said her employment was terminated in 2013 after she complained to human-resources executives about his behavior.
Hardy had come forward anonymously in November, leading Seacrest to say in a statement, “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.” On Feb. 1, E! announced that its investigation “found insufficient evidence to support the claims against Seacrest and therefore could not be substantiated.”
E! told Variety Monday that its investigator, an outside attorney, spent two months and “interviewed more than two dozen people regarding the allegations. . . . Any claims that question the legitimacy of this investigation are completely baseless.”
Hardy, saying she had felt “total exasperation” at E!’s conclusion, told Variety she was interviewed three times by the outside investigator and that “I felt like by the third interview, it was obvious the investigator was whitewashing it for Seacrest’s side.” Hardy said the investigator did not contact four corroborating witnesses she provided.
One co-worker told Variety of witnessing two incidents of assault by Seacrest against Hardy in 2009, and another the following year in a hotel room where Hardy was helping him dress for the Academy Awards. Two co-workers and a nonwork friend confirmed Hardy had described incidents to them contemporaneously.
“I didn’t know how to deal with it,” Hardy 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.”
Seacrest’s attorney, Andrew Baum, said in a statement to Variety, “It is upsetting to us that Variety is electing to run a ‘story’ about untrue allegations that were made against my client, after they were told that the accuser threatened to make those false claims against him unless he paid her $15 million. At that time, the claimant threatened to issue a demonstrably false press statement unless she was paid. Instead, my client proactively and publicly denied the claims and agreed to fully cooperate with E!’s investigation about the matter.”
“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,” Baum said.
According to Variety, Hardy’s attorney said that neither he nor Hardy has asked Seacrest, E!, or its parent company for money. Seacrest’s representatives provided no evidence that a monetary request was made.