Suzie Hardy, Ryan Seacrest’s on-set stylist at E! News for seven years, has gone public with allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Ryan Seacrest, her former boss.
The allegations were detailed in a letter obtained exclusively by Variety and written by Hardy in November. Addressed to E!, NBCUniversal and Seacrest himself, the letter describes a hellish ordeal during her tenure, which ended when the company let her go in 2013, after she reported Seacrest’s alleged abuse to HR.
In the letter, Hardy’s attorney demanded that Seacrest and his employer “come up with a plan to address the treatment of all women at the networks” and urged that they tae “responsibility” for how Seacrest and the network allegedly treated Hardy. Seacrest responded to these allegations by going public himself in November in a statement addressing the allegations.
“If I made her feel anything but respected, I am truly sorry,” he wrote. “I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result. I treat all my colleagues with kindness, dignity, and understanding, as this is a principle that’s core to who I am.” The results of the investigation into these allegations, which was wrapped up about three months later, found that there was “insufficient eivdence to support the claims against Seacrest.”
Hardy said she was initially approached by Seacrest’s personal assistant, who presented an offer of steady pay and regular hours that worked for her as a single mom. She said that Seacrest’s assistant began asking about her personal life, and eventually hinted that Seacrest was interested in Hardy romantically. Then, Hardy told Variety, Seacrest escalated unusual workplace requests—coming to his home tie at tie after 8 p.m., for instance—before becoming more allegedly aggressive.
In 2008, according to the November letter, while walking to the set of “E! News,” Seacrest slid his hand under Hardy’s crotch. In an interview, Hardy said that he slid his hand in from behind, cupped her crotch, then quickly pulled it away again. Seacrest, according to the letter, then asked her “Oh my god, are you going to sue me?” to which Hardy responded, “not if I stay employed.”
Hardy claimed she endured two incidents of alleged assault, witnessed by an employee who was interviewed by the E! investigators as well as Variety—in the first, Seacrest allegedly “forcefully slapped Hardy’s buttock” to the point where it left a welt, which she photographed. The second alleged incident involved Seacrest in his underpants, throwing Hardy on a bed and rubbing his “visible erection” against her body; he allegedly did not stop until Hardy’s co-worker yelled at him to do so.
Hardy’s most shocking claim, as reported in Variety, is as follows:
Hardy was, at the time, dating a high-powered entertainment attorney—toward the beginning of a relationship that would last three years. According to the letter and interviews with Hardy, as she stood in front of Seacrest, tying his tie, Seacrest inquired about the relationship, asking, “Have you f–ked him yet?” When Hardy responded by telling Seacrest not to ask her such questions, Seacrest allegedly reached down and tightly grabbed her vagina. She retreated in tears to a bathroom, where, she said, a production assistant approached her a few minutes later offering to walk her to human resources, but warning her that she would probably be fired if she reported Seacrest’s behavior. Hardy declined the offer.
That incident allegedly occurred in 2010; in 2013, an HR executive summoned Hardy to inquire about her relationship with Seacrest. In their meeting, she said, she clarified that she had never had a relationship with him but he had touched her; she claimed she spent hours describing the abuse and was summarily fired two weeks after the meeting. Hardy no longer works in the entertainment industry and told Variety she was shocked when she saw Seacrest’s guest column in the Hollywood Reporter detailing his side of the story, titled “What Happened After I Was Wrongly Accused of Harassment.”
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