Ryan Seacrest is once again denying the sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him, claiming his accuser asked him for money on multiple occasions.
The American Idol host’s latest statement comes on the heels of his former E! stylist Suzie Hardy going public with detailed accusations, telling Variety that Seacrest inappropriately groped her throughout their time working together. Hardy’s claims, which were first reported in November, previously prompted an investigation by E! The network announced earlier this month it found “insufficient evidence” and ended the inquiry into the host, who still has a professional relationship with the network and will still host its Oscars red carpet show this Sunday.
Now, the day after Hardy’s comments, Seacrest has responded, saying he supports the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and applauds “all the brave souls who have come forward to share their stories.”
“Sadly, last fall I became one of the accused, which I promptly revealed proactively to the network involved and to the public,” he said in a statement sent to EW. “And to be equally clear, those accusations were then investigated by an independent third-party over the course of a two-month process and involved dozens of interviews that included me, the accuser and countless others. Ultimately, my name was cleared. I eagerly participated in the investigation in order to demonstrate my innocence because I know my truth, and I believe in due process.”
He continued, “Yesterday, Variety published a salacious story that revealed the specific claims against me for the first time – even though an independent third-party investigator found insufficient evidence to support the claims. Much to my dismay, Variety didn’t speak with me or bother to speak with other credible witnesses or even ask for any of the evidence that was obtained during the investigation when offered, all of which clearly challenged the veracity of the claims made against me.”
Seacrest added that Hardy repeatedly “offered…to withdraw her claims if I paid her millions of dollars. I refused.” He concluded, “I have worked extremely hard to achieve my success and I don’t take my opportunities for granted. I don’t want to accuse anyone of not telling the truth but in this case, I have no choice but to again deny the claims against me, remind people that I was recused of any wrongdoing, and put the matter to rest.”
Read the full statement below.
Hardy’s attorney, Howard King of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP, did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment, but King told Variety neither he nor Hardy had asked Seacrest, E!, or its corporate owners for any money. Hardy also told the trade publication that the investigator never contacted four witnesses she had offered who could back up parts of her story.
Variety’s two co-editors in chief, Andrew Wallenstein and Claudia Eller, dispute Seacrest’s claim in a statement obtained by EW:
“Responding to a quote by Ryan Seacrest in a Hollywood Reporter story posted today, in which Seacrest claims that ‘Variety didn’t speak with me’ or even ask for evidence obtained during the investigation of sexual misconduct allegations, we want to set the record straight…We spent one hour on the phone yesterday (2/26) with Seacrest attorney, Andrew Baum and his publicist, Kelly Mullens Brown, speaking on background about the story that our reporter Dan Holloway was writing. We asked to speak to Seacrest directly and his reps declined to make him available. Seacrest’s reps claimed to have evidence discrediting the accuser, Suzie Hardy, but refused to provide that as well, citing legal restrictions.”