Ryan Seacrest has declined to answer questions about the growing scandal surrounding allegations he sexually assaulted a former stylist.
Seacrest was asked by a photographer whether he feared the controversy might ignite a backlash on the Oscars red carpet, where the TV personality is usually considered the go-to interviewer for Hollywood’s brightest stars.
“Morning guys. How are you?” Seacrest told photographers.
Seacrest has denied all claims made by the accuser, Suzie Hardy.
But now comes word that some top Hollywood publicists may steer their clients away from Seacrest when he hosts E! News Oscar coverage at the Dolby Theatre on 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 PR agent reportedly told the New York Post‘s Page Six.
Today a new witness came forward, telling Inside Edition he witnessed three incidents of misbehavior by Seacrest and informed E! News that he saw the host in his underwear with an erect penis grab Hardy in a bear hug as she yelled, “Get off of me!”
The witness also claims he was there after Seacrest “slapped Hardy on the butt so hard it left a red mark” and says he once saw Seacrest “push her head towards his crotch while she tied his shoes.”
Also today, Seacrest’s Live With Kelly and Ryan co-host, Kelly Ripa, appeared to take a dig at Seacrest over the alleged shoe-tying incident.
“Do you want me to put your shoes back on for you?” Ripa asked.
“You don’t mind, do you?” was Seacrest’s reply, though the joke appeared to catch him off guard.
Seacrest has denied all allegations and his attorney says a witness who’s come forward is a disgruntled employee.
Seacrest said in a statement:
“This person who has accused me of horrible things has 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.”
Seacrest is set to host the reboot of American Idol which premiers March 11 on ABC.