New details about the sexual-assault allegations against Ryan Seacrest have emerged. E! ended its investigation into the claims by a former wardrobe stylist at the network earlier this month citing lack of evidence, but Variety has obtained a damning letter from the accuser’s attorney that was sent to E!’s parent company NBCUniversal last November. In it, the accuser, Suzie Hardy, outlines years of sexual abuse and harassment committed by Seacrest starting in 2007, including alleged incidents where he “grinded his erect penis against her while clad only in his underwear,” groped her vagina twice on set, requested she nap with him, and once slapped her so hard on her butt that it bruised. She claims Seacrest gave her unwanted hugs in his underwear more than ten times, and allegedly asked after the first groping incident if she would sue him. “Not if I stay employed,” she responded, according to the letter. Hardy claims she reported his behavior to HR at E! in 2013 and was subsequently let go.
Her letter urged E! to “come up with a plan to address the treatment of all women at the networks and to take responsibility for the wrongful treatment” or risk “more formal action” from Hardy. Seacrest then made Hardy’s claims public in a November statement that preemptively denied them and announced his cooperation with the investigation. Hardy now claims E!’s investigation was biased and that four witnesses were not interviewed. “It was obvious the investigator was whitewashing it for Seacrest’s side,” she tells Variety. E! has responded in a statement to Variety calling Hardy’s suggestion that the investigation was flawed “completely baseless.” Seacrest’s attorney also tells Variety that Hardy asked Seacrest to pay her $15 million or she would go public with her claims, which an attorney for Hardy has denied. Hardy claims her last contact with Seacrest was two months after she was let go from E! when he called her to reassure her about future employment with him, but then never followed up on the offer.
Update February 27: Seacrest denied the allegations in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. The television host explained that the investigation into the accusations was performed by a third party and involved “dozens of interviews” with him, the accuser, and witnesses. He wrote, “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.” He added:
“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.”
The lengthy statement can be read in full here.