Suzie Hardy, a former personal stylist to Ryan Seacrest, is alleging that the man seen on televisions around the country subjected her to "years of unwanted sexual aggression." Hardy worked for Seacrest and E! News from 2007 to 2013, and told Variety that the alleged abuse only ended once she was terminated from the network after speaking to human resources about Seacrest's behavior.
Hardy worked at the position from 2007 to 2013. A former freelancer and single mother of a young child, she described the job as a "godsend." But Seacrest began asking her to come to his home late at night or to join him when she was not needed professionally, Hardy said, adding that one time the host asked her "to take a nap" with him. In 2007, Hardy said, Seacrest, wearing only underwear, gave her a "bear hug" — it was one of many bear hugs that Hardy alleged Seacrest gave her while wearing only his underwear.
Hardy said that in 2008 Seacrest groped her crotch and then asked her, "Oh my god, are you going to sue me?" Hardy said she responded, "Not if I stay employed."
One of Hardy's coworkers said he saw Seacrest slap Hardy's rear so hard one time that it produced a red welt on her skin. Then, about a month later, he said he witnessed another incident where, "Seacrest, again in his underwear, this time with a visible erection, grabbed Hardy, threw her onto the hotel-room bed, and climbed on top of her, rubbing his erection against her — stopping only when Hardy’s co-worker began yelling at him," Variety reported. He also said he saw Seacrest force Hardy's head into his crotch many times while she tried to tie his shoes.
According to Variety, in 2010:
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.
In 2013, human resources looked into the nature of her and Seacrest's relationship, Hardy said. She said she told them about the years of abuse she had been enduring from Seacrest. Two weeks later, Hardy was told that she wouldn't be employed with E! soon thereafter. Hardy said that since her departure, she's undergone years of therapy to process the alleged abuse.
In November 2017, when the flood of sexual misconduct allegations were coming from Hollywood, Hardy’s attorney wrote a letter to E!, its parent company NBCUniversal and Seacrest, to request that Seacrest and the companies "come up with a plan to address the treatment of all women at the networks and to take responsibility for the wrongful treatment" of Hardy, according to Variety, who obtained a copy of the letter. Hardy's attorney also threatened "more formal action" if E! didn't comply. About a week later, Seacrest publicized the misconduct allegations himself, describing them as "reckless," and revealing that E! was conducting an independent investigation into the complaint.
"Three months later, E! issued a statement saying that its investigation had concluded and found 'insufficient evidence to support the claims against Seacrest,'" Variety noted. "The investigation was conducted by an outside counsel hired by NBCUniversal."
"Total exasperation was my definite feeling when I heard about it," Hardy told Variety. "I felt like by the third interview, it was obvious the investigator was whitewashing it for Seacrest’s side." E! countered this claim and told Variety through a spokesperson, "Any claims that question the legitimacy of this investigation are completely baseless."
Seacrest is a major on-air personality with more than 20 years of experience. He hosted "American Idol" and was later one of the top faces on the entertainment network. He's now the co-host of "Live with Kelly and Ryan," with Kelly Ripa. He has denied Hardy's claims and guest-wrote a column in the Hollywood Reporter on Feb. 5 titled: "What Happened After I Was Wrongly Accused of Harassment."
Seacrest's attorney also accused Hardy of extortion but provided no evidence of this accusation. Hardy maintained that she never asked Seacrest, E! or NBCUniversal for money. She says she's coming forward now to counter Seacrest's claim that the investigation concluded that "there was no evidence of wrongdoing on my part."