Suzie Hardy was employed as Ryan Seacrest’s personal stylist at E!News from 2007 until 2013.
According to Variety, Hardy alleges she was subjected to numerous unwanted and aggressive sexual advances from Seacrest over the course of her employment.
The single mum only stayed in the job because it provided good pay and allowed her to pick her child up from school most days.
Her employment was terminated in 2013 after she spoke to human resources executives at the company about Seacrest’s behaviour.
In November last year Hardy’s attorney sent a letter to E!, its corporate parent NBCUniversal, and Seacrest, outlining the allegations.
Hardy alleges she was subjected to years of unwanted sexual aggression from Seacreast. She said the TV presenter ground his erect penis against her while he was only wearing underwear, groped her vagina, and in one instance slapped her bottom so forcefully it left a large welt on her skin.
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Speaking to Variety, Hardy detailed how Seacrest’s assistant would tell her the TV presenter “is really into you” and “has a crush on you”. According to Hardy, Seacrest soon started asking her to be with him at times when her professional assistance was clearly not necessary. In one instance he asked her to come to his house at 8pm at night to tie a neck tie for him.
Later, Seacrest’s behaviour allegedly became more and more sexually aggressive. Hardy says Seacreast hugged her while only wearing underwear at least 10 times during her employment.
He allegedly put his hands down her pants and groped her vagina on two separate occasions. Variety spoke to several of Hardy’s former colleagues who witnessed these incidents.
“I didn’t know how to deal with it,” she told Variety. “I really didn’t. I was battling finally being in a decent financial position to breathe and be a mom, that I didn’t have to be freaking out all the time, and then dealing with this infantile celebrity person who was testing me on every level and manipulating me and knew that I was in a vulnerable position.”
After all of this, Hardy still didn’t report the incidents to HR, worried she would lose her job and be unable to support her daughter. In 2013, when HR approached her, Hardy told them about Seacrest’s behaviour.
Two weeks later she was told her employment would end one week after the upcoming Academy Awards.
Variety reports that in the November letter, Hardy’s attorney asked E! and Seacrest to “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.
The attorney stated they were prepared to take “more formal action” if required.
Seacrest has denied Hardy’s claims.
On November 17 last year, he took the claims public and ousted Hardy as his accuser.
In statement released by E!, Seacrest detailed how the company was investigating claims by “someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago at E! News“.
He called Hardy’s claims “reckless allegations”.
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Three months later, E! released another statement announcing they had concluded their investigation and had failed to find sufficient “evidence to support the claims against Seacrest”.
Hardy has since left the entertainment industry and is working for a San Francisco-based tech company and Seacrest’s career and public profile continues to grow.
Last year he became a co-host on ABC’s daytime talk show, Live With Kelly & Ryan.
Hardy has undergone years of therapy to deal with the fallout of the alleged harassment.
“As proud as I am and as strong as a woman as I am, as smart as I am and as much work as I’ve done with therapists, it really affected me,” she told Variety.