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Ryan Seacrest fires back after accuser details alleged sexual harassment

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Ryan Seacrest continues to defend himself against sexual misconduct accusations.

On Monday, Suzie Hardy came forward, identifying herself as the woman who claimed to be sexually harassed by the talk show host. In an interview with Variety, Hardy graphically detailed alleged incidents that supposedly occurred while she worked as Seacrest’s wardrobe stylist at E! years ago.

Seacrest — who has vehemently denied the allegations — has responded, slamming Variety and the claims made by the former employee.

“Much has been said about the #MeToo and Times Up movement(s) and the importance of providing women and men with the opportunity to share their stories of workplace misconduct, in an effort to change our culture and the systemic inequalities that exist,” the statement begins, per the Hollywood Reporter. “I absolutely support this cause unequivocally and applaud all the brave souls who have come forward to share their stories.”

He continues, “Sadly, last fall I became one of the accused, which I promptly revealed proactively to the network involved and to the public. 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.”

Earlier this month, E! announced it concluded its investigation into Seacrest, stating the network was unable to find enough evidence to support the claims.

“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,” Seacrest states. “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 concludes, “This person who has accused me of horrible things offered, on multiple occasions, to withdraw her claims if I paid her millions of dollars. I refused. 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.”

Hardy issued her own statement on Tuesday: “I remained quiet for years out of fears that my story wouldn’t be believed and that I would be subject to scorn and ridicule for telling it,” she told Variety. “I was emboldened by the bravery of others to finally and confidentially tell my story to NBC. Ryan elected to take the story public with a false narrative that he was exonerated and the victim of some sort of money grab. He is not the victim, and I refuse to let him victimize me for telling the truth.”

In November, Seacrest preemptively issued a statement addressing the “reckless” misconduct allegations before they were made public. A few weeks ago, the American Idol host penned a guest column for THR titled, “What Happened After I Was Wrongly Accused of Harassment.” This is what supposedly prompted Hardy to reveal her identity.

Hardy became Seacrest’s personal stylist for E! News in 2007. For years, she claims, she was subjected to unwanted sexual advances, including Seacrest grinding his erect penis against her while he was in his underwear, groping her vagina, and slapping her butt so hard that it left a visible welt. She claims that she endured his behavior due to the financial stability that the job provided her and her daughter. Hardy reported Seacrest to human resources in 2013, and her employment ended shortly after that.

“I didn’t know how to deal with it,” she claimed to Variety. “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.”

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