Ryan Seacrest will host E! Network’s Academy Awards preshow despite sexual harassment allegations
LOS ANGELES — Ryan Seacrest will still host the E! network’s red carpet preshow at Sunday’s Academy Awards, despite renewed conversation around sexual harassment allegations made against the host and producer by a former stylist and calls from at least one high-profile actress for him to skip the event.
E! confirmed to CNN that Seacrest will lead its coverage of the Oscars, adding in a statement that the network’s investigation into the allegations was “extremely comprehensive and thorough.”
“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 and all firsthand witnesses that she provided,” E!’s statement read. “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.”
News that Seacrest was facing workplace misconduct allegations first came to light in November, when Seacrest released a preemptive statement about an investigation E! was conducting.
He has repeatedly denied the allegations.
In February, E! concluded its investigation, saying in a statement at the time that outside counsel “found insufficient evidence to substantiate allegations against Seacrest.”
Seacrest’s former stylist, Suzie Hardy, went public on Monday, giving an interview to Variety in which she detailed allegations of groping and sexual harassment.
Hardy worked for Seacrest from 2007-13. She claims she was terminated in retaliation for reporting Seacret’s alleged behavior, according to a letter obtained by CNN that Hardy’s attorney sent to E!, NBC Universal and representatives for Seacrest back in November.
CNN has contacted both Seacrest’s attorney and personal representative for comment.
An attorney for Seacrest told Variety the allegations were “untrue.”
Actress Bellamy Young, best known for her role on “Scandal,” called on Seacrest to step away from his Oscar hosting duties.
“This is the time to step aside and let someone of equal talent who is beyond reproach to be in charge,” Young told Variety on the red carpet for “A Wrinkle in Time.”
This will be the first Academy Awards to take place since Hollywood was forced to contend with rampant sexual harassment in the entertainment world and the birth of the Time’s Up movement, which aims to end sexual harassment and misconduct in all industries.
Seacrest made no mention of the allegations on Tuesday during the ABC morning show that he co-hosts with Kelly Ripa, according to Variety.
Seacrest is known widely as one of the busiest figures in entertainment, with a hefty number of projects that he oversees both in front of and behind the camera.
In addition to having a long-running professional relationship with E! as a host, Seacrest is also the executive producer of its lucrative “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” reality show franchise.
Over at ABC, Seacrest is expected to start hosting ABC’s iteration of “American Idol” on March 11. He is also host of the network’s New Years Eve festivities.
A representative for ABC had no comment on the allegations.