The Academy Awards red carpet is usually about fashion but many stars used the platform to discuss sexual abuse and gender inequity in Hollywood. Amid the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, many watched as as Taraji P. Henson inserted what appeared to be subtle slam against Ryan Seacrest, who has been accused of sexual abuse by a former employee.
"You know what? The universe has a way of taking care of the good people," she says, looking directly at the E! News host. "You know what I mean?"
Fans and media outlets alike called the interaction everything from "shade" to an all-out curse.
Journalist Mark Harris reported that Henson was happy to end her interview with the media maven.
I'm great now that I'm in your company." --Taraji P. Henson to the interviewer who talked to her right after Ryan Seacrest," he tweeted. That appeared to be confirmed by a clip shared by writer Melissa Malamut of Henson talking to ABC's Wendi Mclendon-Covey.
The 47-year-old actress later said that her interaction with Seacrest was "misconstrued."
“I did it to keep his chin up. It’s an awkward position to be in. He’s been cleared but anyone can say anything,” she told People.
When asked whether she was supporting Seacrest, Henson replied “absolutely.”
Seacrest took to Twitter to share that he had nothing but love for his "friend."
Seacrest is battling allegations by a former stylist of harassment and abuse in the workplace. Many criticized his presence at the Oscars and his prominent position on the red carpet interviewing celebrities. "How are women in Hollywood supposed to make small talk with a man accused of sexual harassment in the #MeToo era?," asked a writer in an op-ed for NBC News.
The founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, told Variety that the host should have not been sent as it placed pressure on women to grapple whether to be interviewed by him or not.
“They really shouldn’t send him [to the Oscars],” Burke said of Seacrest's network. “We shouldn’t have to make those choices of, ‘Do we or don’t we?'”
Seacrest has vehemently maintained his innocence and calls the accusations baseless.
[Photo: Getty Images]