After Ryan Seacrest was accused of sexual misconduct, his Live With Kelly and Ryan co-host, Kelly Ripa, voiced her support for the TV personality. During the Thursday, March 1, broadcast of their morning program, Kelly, 47, insisted that Ryan, 43, is a pleasure to work with despite the claims made against him.
"I just want you to know you are a privilege to work with, and I adore you, and I am speaking on behalf of all of us here," Kelly told Ryan, while discussing his upcoming gig covering the red carpet at the 2018 Oscars for E! News. Despite the scandal — and reports that celebrities plan to avoid Ryan — E! confirmed that the American Idol host will still attend on behalf of the network.
"I know what an easy, professional, great person you are and I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day," Kelly continued, to which a visibly relieved Ryan replied, "You are happiness." Kelly then jokingly one-upped him: "You are happiness wrapped in chocolate."
Back in November, Ryan was accused of sexual misconduct by an anonymous E! employee. He denied those allegations and after E! launched an investigation, he was cleared of any wrongdoing. The network said in a statement that it found "no sufficient evidence to substantiate" the claims.
Suzie Hardy in 2007. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
However, the employee, who happened to be former wardrobe stylist Suzie Hardy, went public with her story in a Variety piece published on Monday, Feb. 26. She told the trade outlet that Ryan treated her inappropriately on multiple occasions, claiming that he shoved her head near his crotch and hugged her while waiting nothing but underwear, among other troubling incidents.
In response, Ryan — a vocal supporter of Hollywood’s ever-growing #MeToo moment — denied Suzie’s allegations in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "Yesterday, Variety published a salacious story that revealed the specific claims against me for the first time — even though an independent third-party investigator found insufficient evidence to support the claims," he said on Tuesday. "Much to my dismay, Variety didn’t speak with me or bother to speak with other credible witnesses or even ask for any of the evidence that was obtained during the investigation when offered, all of which clearly challenged the veracity of the claims made against me."
The media mogul 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."