On Live with Kelly & Ryan Thursday morning (March 1) Kelly Ripa defended her co-host Ryan Seacrest, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by former E! stylist, Suzie Hardy. Seacrest has continued to deny the charges.
Near the end of the talk show’s opening segment, while discussing the upcoming Oscar telecast which both hosts are set to cover, Kelly professed her support. “I just want to let you know that you are a privilege to work with, and I adore you. And I am speaking on behalf of all of us here,” Kelly said. “I know what an easy, great, professional person you are, and I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day. We all do.”
Seacrest thanked her and hugged her. “You are happiness,” he replied.
Also defending Seacrest is his stylist/makeup artist of 13 years, Jayson Stacy. She told People magazine.
“He’s never been mean. With women, there’s so many females that work with us. … I never once heard anyone say that he’s done anything to make them feel uncomfortable – that he’s been mean to them, that they wanted to leave their job because of him.”
I can’t tell you the number of people that work with him – this is so out of character and it’s not the truth,” said Stacy. “Ryan is the greatest boss. We all know the truth.”
Meanwhile, the Today show interviewed the accuser’s E! co-worker who claims to have witnessed Seacrest sexual harassment. “She would go to tie his shoe, and Ryan would shove her head toward his crotch,” the anonymous witness claimed.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 28, 2018
So far, Seacrest’s business partners and employers are sticking by him in the wake of the allegations, including ABC, the network bringing back American Idol to television. The show has not changed plans to include Seacrest in a photo shoot scheduled for this week.
And Seacrest is still set to conduct interviews on the Academy Awards red carpet for E! After investigating the allegations, the cable network concluded that there was “insufficient evidence to support the claims against Seacrest.”
However, in an entertainment climate heavily informed by the #MeToo movement, will actors be willing to speak with Ryan on the carpet? The New York Post reports, maybe not.
…top Hollywood publicists tell Page Six that they will steer many of their stars away from Seacrest on the Oscar red carpet.
Given the white-hot emotions and politics surrounding Hollywood abuse — and the seriousness of the allegations made against Seacrest — the flacks said they would instead direct their clients to Seacrest’s co-host, Giuliana Rancic, or skip E! altogether.
“Usually Ryan is the one you want .?.?. but there are so many outlets on that carpet, why risk it? There’s plenty of other places for clients to get the exposure,” one PR powerhouse told us.
Another PR source said it would depend on the client, but “if it was a [client who had been involved in the #MeToo movement], I would never put them in that position. I don’t think any smart person would.”