Ryan Seacrest’s former stylist reveals detailed sexual harassment allegations

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 30: Ryan Seacrest presents welcome remarks at the 11th Annual Exploring the Arts Gala hosted by Tony Bennett and Susan Benedetto at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on January 30, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Exploring The Arts)

Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Ryan Seacrest‘s former personal stylist Suzy Hardy in an exclusive Variety story laid out detailed claims that he sexually harassed her in numerous ways for several years, allegations that E! had recently dismissed after a two-month investigation.

Hardy, who worked with Seacrest from 2007 to 2013, provided Variety her original November letter addressed to E!, its parent NBCUniversal and Seacrest. She also spoke with Variety and provided witnesses who heard her stories at the time they happened.

Among the most salacious details: she said he would hug her and grind on her in his underwear while excited. In at least one instance, he grabbed her vagina without her permission. Another time he slapped her buttock so hard, it left a welt, which she took a picture of. She said after reporting his actions to E! human resources in 2013, she was let go of her job.

Hardy’s attorney — Howard King of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP — asked Seacrest and E! to “come up with a plan to address the treatment of all women at the networks and to take responsibility for the wrongful treatment” of Hardy, and threatened “more formal action” if the request were ignored.

Soon after he received the letter, Seacrest publicly revealed the existence of the accusations without details and later claimed he was being blackmailed.

Variety said nobody in Seacrest’s camp or E! provided evidence she had asked for any compensation.

A month ago, E! finished an investigation from an outside counsel and concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to give credence to her allegations.

The “American Idol” host and Atlanta native has steadfastly denied any sexual harassment on his part in past statements. UPDATE: He chose not to address the issue on “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” opting instead to open about teeth whitening surgery.

She said she kept her job for years because she was a single mom and needed the gig.

Hardy decided to go public after Seacrest wrote in a Hollywood Reporter column that the E! investigation found “no evidence of wrongdoing on my part.” The reality is they wrote “insufficient evidence.”

She is no longer in the entertainment industry. She told Variety: “I came from a freelance life, and it was scary. It was hard to raise a child and not know where your next check was going to come from, and if that gig was going to take me out of town for two weeks. It was a better deal all the way around, even if I was being abused. It’s sick to say, but it was true.”

Seacrest’s attorney Andrew Baum released this statement: “It is upsetting to us that Variety is electing to run a ‘story’ about untrue allegations that we 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.”

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