Kelly Ripa pledged her allegiance to Ryan Seacrest on Thursday during their live broadcast, despite a detailed accused history of sexual misconduct aimed at her co-host.
Ripa and Seacrest spent some time during Live! With Kelly and Ryan to discuss the upcoming Oscars ceremony and their roles behind the scenes of the awards show. While Ripa will stand backstage to interview Academy Award winners, Seacrest will host E!'s red carpet pre-show on Sunday.
Seacrest’s hosting duties had been called into question following mounting accusations of sexual misconduct by his former stylist, but following “insufficient evidence” from E!’s investigation, he will continue with the job — a decision clearly supported by Ripa.
“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,” she said during the broadcast. “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, who appeared appreciative of her support, thanked her and hugged her. “You are happiness,” he said.
The on-air declaration comes after Variety published a story earlier this week outlining accusations by Suzie Hardy, who served as Seacrest’s personal stylist from 2007 to 2013.
In the article and during E!’s investigation, Hardy detailed a series of incidents involving her former employer, including claims he grabbed her crotch, hugged her while wearing only underwear and threw her on a bed before rubbing his erection on her.
Hardy also said that after E! News' human resources employees approached her about whether she was engaged in a relationship with Seacrest, she reported the allegations and was subsequently fired a short time later.
“As proud as I am and as strong as a woman as I am, as smart as I am and as much work as I’ve done with therapists, it really affected me,” Hardy said of the alleged abuse she endured at Seacrest's hands.
Despite the disturbing claims, E! conducted a three-month independent investigation into the matter and cleared the longtime host of wrongdoing.1comments
“E! has now concluded the investigation into allegations regarding Ryan Seacrest,” a network spokesperson said in January. “The investigation, conducted by outside counsel, found insufficient evidence to support the claims against Seacrest and therefore could not be substantiated. E! is committed to providing a safe working environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.”
Additionally, a spokesperson for ABC’s Live! With Kelly and Ryan also confirmed to the outlet that the live daytime talk show will continue as scheduled with Seacrest as host, a statement echoed by iHeartMedia, which hosts his radio show.