Ryan Seacrest Sexual Misconduct Allegations Send E! Into Oscars Crisis Mode

NBCUniversal and E! Network are in full crisis mode after the sexual harassment allegations against Ryan Seacrest were made public earlier this week.

On Monday, Suzie Hardy, the former E! stylist who accused Seacrest of sexual misconduct last fall, told her story to Variety after it obtained the letter her attorney sent to the network. Hardy said she faced abuse from Seacrest for over six years. She lost her job after reporting Seacrest to E!'s human resources staff in 2013. Hardy claims Seacrest once grinded his erect penis against her while wearing only his underwear. She also accused him of groping her vagina and slapping her buttocks.

In late January, E! News said its internal investigation cleared Seacrest. He also issued a statement, claiming Hardy demanded $15 million and he denied the allegations.

Despite the claims, Seacrest is still set to host E!'s Oscars red carpet special. On Tuesday, Page Six reported that publicists have told their clients to steer clear of the American Idol host. PR sources told the site they would rather see their clients be interviewed by Giuliana Rancic or skip E! News anchors completely.

On Wednesday, sources told Page Six that NBCUniversal is in "crisis mode." They are trying to organize his interviews so there "will be no Debra Messing moments this time around," referring to the awkward moment at the Golden Globes in January. The Will & Grace actress slammed E! for how it was handling former host Catt Sadler's equal-pay dispute.

Seacrest is also still hosting Live! With Kelly and Ryan. During Thursday's episode, Kelly Ripa voiced support for her co-host.

“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,” Ripa 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.”

“E! has now concluded the investigation into allegations regarding Ryan Seacrest,” E! Network said in a statement 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.”


Hardy responded to E! News and Seacrest's denials on Tuesday.

“I remained quiet for years out of fears that my story wouldn’t be believed and that I would be subject to scorn and ridicule for telling it,” Hardy told Variety. “I was emboldened by the bravery of others to finally and confidentially tell my story to NBC. Ryan elected to take the story public with a false narrative that he was exonerated and the victim of some sort of money grab. He is not the victim, and I refuse to let him victimize me for telling the truth.”