The E! stylist who accused Ryan Seacrest of sexual misconduct is now detailing her allegations, including that he grabbed her crotch multiple times.
This past fall, after Seacrest’s former wardrobe stylist, Suzie Hardy, brought accusations against the American Idol host — which The Hollywood Reporter first reported — the Live with Kelly and Ryan co-host publicized her misconduct allegations by releasing a denial.
“Recently, someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago at E! News, came forward with a complaint suggesting I behaved inappropriately toward her. If I made her feel anything but respected, I am truly sorry. I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result,” Seacrest began his statement. “I treat all my colleagues with kindness, dignity, and understanding, as this is a principle that’s core to who I am. Throughout my 25 years in the entertainment industry, the majority of my co-workers have been women, and I’ve endeavored to foster a positive work environment of mutual respect and courtesy, as that’s how I believe it should be.”
Seacrest, 43, concluded: “I’m distraught that anyone or any situation would call that into question. I’m proud of my workplace reputation, and believe my track record will speak for itself. I’m an advocate for women. I will continue to support their voices.”
Now, just weeks after E! ended its investigation — “the investigation, conducted by outside counsel, found insufficient evidence to support the claims against Seacrest and therefore could not be substantiated,” an E! spokesperson said in a statement — Hardy opened up to Variety in a new interview.
Hardy was a single mother of a young daughter when she became Seacrest’s personal stylist in 2007 for E! News. According to a Nov. 10 letter from Hardy’s attorney — Howard King of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP — addressed to E! and obtained by Variety, Hardy lived close by to Seacrest’s personal assistant. By the end of her first year working at E!, Seacrest’s personal assistant told Hardy that the TV host “is really into you” and “has a crush on you,” according to the letter obtained by Variety.
Hardy claims in the Variety-obtained letter that Seacrest hugged her while wearing only underwear more than 10 times. She also alleges that at one point, Seacrest was sitting in a director’s chair in the dressing room, only in his underwear, and said to her, “I just don’t think you’re attracted to me,” to which she replied, “I’m attracted to my paycheck.”
A year after being hired as his E! stylist, Hardy claims in the letter that while walking to set, Seacrest slid his hand under her crotch area. “Oh my god, are you going to sue me?” Hardy claims in the letter that Seacrest told her in 2008. “Not if I stay employed,” she replied.
One of Hardy’s former coworkers who worked at E! News told Variety he witnessed Seacrest assault Hardy on at least two separate occasions in 2009. In the first incident, both Hardy and her coworker claim that Seacrest slapped her buttocks, which produced a welt hours later. She allegedly took a photo of it and gave it to E! and Variety.
One month later, Hardy and her coworker were in Seacrest’s Roosevelt Hotel suite in Hollywood, where she helped him dress for the Oscars. According to both Hardy and her former colleague, Seacrest was wearing only his underwear and had a visible erection; he allegedly threw Hardy onto the bed, where he climbed on top of her and rubbed his erection on her.
In 2010, Hardy was dating a prominent entertainment attorney. During a separate incident, while Hardy was tying his tie, Seacrest allegedly asked if the pair was intimate, to which she told him to not inquire about personal questions. She claims he then proceeded to grab her vagina.
The letter, obtained by Variety, states that E!’s human resources executives asked to meet with Hardy in 2013. During their meeting, she asserted that she did not have a consensual physical relationship with Seacrest and reportedly said “But he touched me,” according to the letter. She told Variety that she told E! execs that Seacrest grabbed her vagina and detailed other sexual abuse claims to them.
Two weeks after her meeting, Hardy was reportedly informed that E! News would end her employment a week after the Oscars; from that point on, she had no in-person contact with the host. Two months later, Hardy told the outlet that Seacrest called her and said they would work together again in the future.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Seacrest’s attorney Andrew Baum says, “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.” Baum issued the same statement to Variety, which they included in their report.
“On January 31st the network notified us that their independent third-party investigation had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support her claims, effectively, clearing my client’s name,” Baum said in a statement to Variety. “It’s telling that after my client refused to pay her money, and the E! investigation resulted as it did, that she is now coming forward to share her debunked story to the press.”
Hardy’s lawyer told Variety that neither he nor Hardy have asked for any monetary compensation.