The stylist who claimed that one of ABC's biggest stars, Ryan Seacrest, abused and harassed her while they worked at E! News made the details of her complaint public for the first time Monday. She claimed he groped her and gave her a bear hug wearing only his underwear, among other accusations.
In an interview with Variety, Suzie Hardy, a single mother, detailed getting a dream job as the host’s personal stylist at E! News in 2007, only to be fired in 2013 after making graphic complaints of harassment known to HR. As previously reported, Hardy took her complaints directly to the network, which didn’t move forward with any punishment against Seacrest after a third-party investigator deemed there wasn't enough evidence.
"E!’s investigation was extremely comprehensive and thorough," an E! spokesperson told Fox News in a statement. "Over the course of a two-month process, our outside counsel interviewed more than two dozen people regarding the allegations, including multiple separate meetings with the claimant and all firsthand witnesses that she provided. The investigator is an attorney with nearly 20 years experience and is highly regarded professionally. Any claims that question the legitimacy of this investigation are completely baseless."
Now, the “American Idol” host’s lawyer, Andrew Baum, is claiming to Fox News that Hardy initially asked for a payout to keep quiet, prompting Seacrest to announce the investigation publicly on his own behalf.
“It is upsetting to us that Variety is electing to run a ‘story’ about untrue allegations that we were made against my client, after they were told that the accuser threatened to make those false claims against him unless he paid her $15 million. At that time, the claimant threatened to issue a demonstrably false press statement unless she was paid," the statement reads. "Instead, my client proactively and publicly denied the claims and agreed to fully cooperate with E!’s investigation about the matter."
Hardy’s lawyers, on the other hand, have said there's absolutely no evidence to support claims she demanded hush money.
Meanwhile, Seacrest continues to deny all allegations of sexual misconduct and even went as far as to publish a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter under the title “What Happened After I was Wrongly Accused of Harassment.”
Now, Hardy has detailed her alleged experience to Variety.
According to Hardy, Seacrest’s assistant offered her a regular job styling Seacrest for E! News. However, when the assistant started to hint that Seacrest’s interest in her had turned romantic, she tried to ignore it. He allegedly started asking her to join him at times when he didn't need a stylist — including a requested meeting at his home at 8 p.m. to tie his tie.
Things allegedly turned physical in 2007 when Seacrest, wearing only his underwear, reportedly got her in a bear hug and didn’t let go until somebody else walked in on them. She reported roughly ten other similar encounters, but said she was too tethered to the financial responsibilities she had to her daughter to walk away from the job.
In 2008, Seacrest allegedly groped Hardy’s crotch from behind. According to the letter she sent the network earlier this year, Seacrest asked her, “Oh my god, are you going to sue me?”
At a later date, while leaving the set of E! News, Seacrest reportedly slapped her so hard on the buttocks that it left a red welt for several hours. Not long after that, there was an alleged incident in a hotel room in which Hardy claimed Seacrest, again in his underwear, pushed her onto the bed and rubbed his visibly erect penis against her. He reportedly stopped only when her co-worker, apparently in the room at the time, yelled at him.
The final offense detailed in the report allegedly happened in 2010, when Seacrest inquired about Hardy’s boyfriend at the time. He reportedly asked, in lewd language, if she’d slept with him yet. She asked him not to ask questions like that, which allegedly prompted him to tightly grab her vagina as she was tying his tie. She retreated to the bathroom where a coworker offered to take her to the company's human resources department, but mentioned it may cost her the job. She refused.
In 2013, she reportedly was contacted by HR and asked about her relationship with Seacrest. While she said she could confidently say she did not have a physical relationship with the star, she took the opportunity to note that he had touched her inappropriately. Soon after, she was told that her employment would be terminated.
NBC Universal, which owns E!, did not immediately return Fox News’ requests for comment.