Ryan Seacrest will hit the red carpet for E! News at this Sunday’s Academy Awards, but it remains to be seen whether celebrities will shun him because his facing allegations of sexual harassment by his long-time stylist.
The same questions were raised about Woody Allen at the 2014 Oscars after step-daughter Dylan Farrow’s compelling letter to The New York Times detailing sexual abuse allegations against him when she was seven years old.
A whispering campaign allegedly spread through Hollywood, urging audience members to turn their backs to the stage when Allen’s Oscar category was announced. Allen was greeted warmly by the crowd and no protest materialized.
A number of actresses, including Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively and Scarlett Johannson continue to stand by him.
But the culture in Hollywood has changed dramatically since then. The #MeToo and “Time’s Up” movements have heightened sensitivity to sexual assaults and sexual harassment, especially by people in positions of power.
In Seacrest’s case, he’s facing allegations from former stylist Suzie Hardy. She says she was subjected to “years of unwanted sexual aggression” from the TV presenter.
Among the allegations, Hardy claimed Seacrest often rubbed his erection against her. An investigation was reportedly dismissed on the grounds of insufficient evidence, which is not all that unusual in cases involving sexual assault or harassment.
For his part, Seacrest has heatedly denied the charges. He says Hardy is trying to extort money from him.
“This person who has accused me of horrible things tried to buy her silence by asking for money on multiple occasions – 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.”
Nonetheless, some publicists plan to keep their clients away from Seacrest and steer them instead to co-host Giuliana Rancic, according to The New York Post.
“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,” on public relations agent told The Post.
“If it was a [client who had been involved in the #MeToo movement], I would never put them in that position. I don’t think any smart person would,” said another agent.
Let us know your thoughts. The answer will come Sunday night, when the Oscars take place. We’ll follow up.