A Hollywood stylist who worked for Ryan Seacrest for years told Variety that the TV personality repeatedly subjected her to sexual harassment and assault over seven years.
Suzie Hardy told the Hollywood trade publication that the 42-year-old Seacrest used to stand behind her in his underwear and grind his penis against her, groped her vagina on a few occasions and once slapped her buttocks so hard that it left a welt for hours.
Hardy said in the article that she stuck with the job because she was a single mother with a daughter.
“I didn’t know how to deal with it,” Hardy said. “I really didn’t. I was battling finally being in a decent financial position to breathe and be a mom, that I didn’t have to be freaking out all the time, and then dealing with this infantile celebrity person who was testing me on every level and manipulating me and knew that I was in a vulnerable position.”
Read more of Hardy’s claims at Variety.
The stylist said that after she reported Seacrest to E! News’ human resources executives in 2013, she was terminated.
She initially publicly accused Seacrest of behaving inappropriately toward her in November, although she remained unnamed. Seacrest denied the accusations, and E! News responded that it was conducting an investigation. The results, released earlier this month, found there was insufficient evidence to support the claims against Seacrest, according to Deadline Hollywood.
Hardy, who was interviewed three times by the independent investigator, said she remained skeptical of the E! News findings.
“I felt like by the third interview, it was obvious the investigator was whitewashing it for Seacrest’s side,” she told Variety, adding that the investigator never contacted four witnesses who she said would corroborate elements of her story.
On Monday, an E! Entertainment spokesperson said in a statement, “E!’s investigation was extremely comprehensive and thorough. Over the course of a two-month process, our outside counsel interviewed more than two dozen people regarding the allegations, including multiple separate meetings with the claimant and all firsthand witnesses that she provided. The investigator is an attorney with nearly 20 years experience and is highly regarded professionally. Any claims that question the legitimacy of this investigation are completely baseless.”
Seacrest denied the initial accusations in November and is refuting Hardy’s allegations to Variety through his attorney Andrew Baum:
“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. 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 attorney Howard King said his client has never asked Seacrest, E! or the cable channel’s corporate parents for any payout.
Variety says Seacrest’s representatives have not shown any evidence that Hardy requested money.
This article has been updated to include Monday’s statement from E! Network.