Ryan Seacrest’s former personal stylist for E! News has alleged the TV star subjected her to sexual harassment for years.
In an exclusive interview with Variety, Suzie Hardy alleges the sexual misconduct started in 2007 after she begun working as the host’s stylist.
Hardy alleges Secreast made unwanted advances, including groping her vagina, grinding his erect penis against her while he was only wearing underwear, and slapping her so hard on her buttocks that it left a red welt.
“I didn’t know how to deal with it,” she told the publication.
“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.”
Hardy says she informed friends of Seacrest’s alleged behaviour and was then approached by human resources. The stylist told Variety that two weeks after meeting with HR, she found out her employment had been terminated.
As PEOPLE reports, Seacrest denied the allegations in November via a statement when the news first broke.
“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 said in a 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.”
The TV host 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.”
An investigation by E! into the matter found that "any claims that question the legitimacy of this investigation are completely baseless."
In a statement, Seacret’s lawyer Andrew Baum told US Weekly that Hardy had previously requested money to stay quiet with the allegations.
“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.
"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 told Variety that the investigation did not seek input from four witnesses she said could back up elements of her story.