Is it #TimesUp on Ryan Seacrest? After the fall’s disturbing allegations that he harassed an employee at E! — which he denied, and the network found unsubstantiated — a brand new video might just rock the boat.
While taping this past Sunday’s episode of “American Idol,” host Seacrest was caught making “some pretty awkward” comments to judge Katy Perry, Elle reports. The uncomfortable interaction took place as the show returned from a commercial break. Seacrest was standing near the judges’ table and seemed not to realize that they were back on the air, not even after Perry reminded him, “We’re on.”
Seacrest, either not hearing her or ignoring what she’d said, commented instead, “Your mom’s pretty.”
“My mom? Well, I hope the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” Perry responded, shooting a smile at the camera.
Seacrest plundered on: “It doesn’t. You are too, but you’re not a mom yet.”
“Not yet,” Perry said, at which point Seacrest quipped, “Wanna talk about it?”
“What?” Perry responded. At that point, fellow judge Lionel Richie finally stepped in, telling Seacrest, “Don’t start.” Awkward laughter ensued, as they all contemplated the fact that they’re seemingly on air.
“Is this real TV? Are we professionals?” Perry joked.
Neither Seacrest nor Perry have commented publicly on the awkward moment. It’s worth noting the possibility that the exchange was actually scripted but didn’t read well on screen, or that the conversation was shown out of context and appeared worse than it really was. Fueling speculation that Seacrest was acting inappropriately, however, is the fact that the host was accused of sexual misconduct earlier this year by his former personal stylist for E! News, Suzie Hardy, NBC News reports. Hardy claims that the harassment went on for years and, in an exclusive interview with Variety in February, detailed the alleged harassment, which she said included Seacrest groping her vagina and, on another occasion, slapping her buttock hard enough to leave a large welt.
Seacrest denied the allegations against him after deciding to speak publicly about the situation because the accuser, who was then anonymous, allegedly wanted a “substantial amount of money to keep quiet,” Deadline reports.
“I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result,” his statement reads. “I treat all my colleagues with kindness, dignity, and understanding, as this is a principle that’s core to who I am.”
“Throughout my 25 years in the entertainment industry, the majority of my co-workers have been women, and I’ve endeavored to foster a positive work environment of mutual respect and courtesy, as that’s how I believe it should be. I’m distraught that anyone or any situation would call that into question. I’m proud of my workplace reputation, and believe my track record will speak for itself," he continued, adding, “I’m an advocate for women. I will continue to support their voices.”
After launching an investigation into the allegations, E! concluded that they’d found “insufficient evidence to substantiate allegations against Seacrest," Deadline reports. Hardy filed a police report in March, according to a guest column the stylist penned for the Hollywood Reporter. Said Seacrest's attorney, Andrew Baum, in response, “We will continue to cooperate and we remain confident that Mr. Seacrest will once again be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
(Photo: Ryan Seacrest and Katy Perry attend the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 20, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. By Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Clear Channel)