Ryan Seacrest is still planning on hosting E! Network’s coverage of the Oscars this weekend. However, considering the sexual misconduct charges leveled against him, top Hollywood publicists say their clients will shun the American Idol host on the red carpet.
According to Page Six, publicists in Hollywood are preparing to steer their clients away from Seacrest because of the sexual harassment accusations. They are either going to direct people to talk with Giuliana Rancic, who is hosting alongside Seacrest, or ignore E!’s coverage and head for a different outlet. Either way, there’s the potential for things to get awkward Sunday night.
“Usually Ryan is the one you want… but there are so many outlets on that carpet, why risk it? There’s plenty of other places for clients to get the exposure,” one anonymous publicist shared. “If it was a [client involved in the #MeToo movement], I would never put them in that position. I don’t think any smart person would.”
Seacrest has been accused of sexually harassing his former stylist, Suzie Hardy, over a period of several years. The Live host has denied the allegations and was the subject of an investigation by NBC, E!’s parent company. The independent investigators did not find any evidence that supported Hardy’s claims, and Seacrest was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
Despite the results of the investigation, some celebrities in Hollywood are already calling for Seacrest to sit out the event. This week, Scandal’s Bellamy Young said that Seacrest should let somebody who hasn’t been accused of sexual misconduct host the event. In response to the backlash, Seacrest released a statement emphasizing that he was found not guilty of the charges and remains adamant that he did nothing wrong.
On Monday, Hardy’s attorney released a statement that detailed her account of Seacrest’s behavior over the years. Hardy revealed that Seacrest would grind himself on her when he was wearing underwear. He also allegedly groped Hardy and slapped her on the butt on one occasion.
Hardy has fired back after Seacrest’s statement this week. The former stylist slammed Seacrest for trying to play the victim and vowed to keep telling the truth until something happens.
E! has not issued an official statement on why they are still allowing Seacrest to host the red carpet at the Oscars. The network is creating a PR nightmare by not sitting Seacrest out. On the other hand, Seacrest holds a lot of sway with the network and brings in a ton of money. With Seacrest’s production company handling the Kardashians, he probably has the green light to do whatever he wants. That puts E! in a tricky situation, but they still have plenty of time to replace Seacrest and avoid being shunned on Sunday night.
Fans can watch Ryan Seacrest host E!’s annual red-carpet coverage when the 90th Academy Awards air Sunday night on ABC.