Celebs who avoided Ryan Seacrest at the Oscars

While usually inoffensive to the point of blandness, Ryan Seacrest was a controversial choice to host the E! Network's Oscars red carpet show on March 4, 2018. Why? Because this is the awards seasons of the #MeToo movement and Time's Up, and the beginning of the end to the toxic masculinity and insidious sexual predator culture that has pervaded Hollywood for decades. Numerous powerful men have been called out for their horrific behavior over the past few months, including movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, comedian Louis C.K., Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey (replaced at the last minute in All the Money in the World by Christopher Plummer, who earned an Oscar nomination for his troubles), and, of course TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest. 

Let's take a closer look at the accusations waged against the the red carpet reporter and see how he fared on the big night. Spoiler alert: it wasn't a pretty sight.

He's been accused of years of abuse and harrassment

Seacrest was accused by a former E! stylist named Suzie Hardy of multiple, aggressive acts of sexual assault, harassment, violence, and indecent behavior. According to Vulture, Hardy claims Seacrest "groped her vagina twice on set, requested she nap with him, and once slapped her so hard on her butt that it bruised. groped her, gave her unwanted hugs in his underwear more than ten times…" Hardy said she fired after reporting his behavior to the network in 2013.

E! conducted an internal investigation and declared a lack of evidence against its golden boy — host of the network's Red Carpet show for more than a decade, and a producer on its lucrative Kardashian universe of shows. In a statement, the network said it was "committed to providing a safe working environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity." 

E! stands by its man

Though E!'s investigation reportedly turned up nothing, third parties allegedly witnessed some of Seacrest's inappropriate behavior, and Me Too founder Tarana Burke called on the network to bench him at the 2018 Oscars. "They really shouldn't send him," Burke said, feeling that it would put actresses in an unfair and uncomfortable spot. Nevertheless, E! decided to stand by its man and keep Seacrest in place.

In the days leading up to the Oscars, some high-powered Hollywood publicists anonymously told Page Six that they'd direct their clients to ignore Seacrest, or, at the very least, talk to his E! co-host, Giuliana Rancic, instead. No dice. When Oscar Sunday arrived, Seacrest got his regular gig, with a nice spot right at the front of the red carpet receiving line. Meanwhile, Rancic, who hasn't been accused of anything, was sequestered to the virtual Siberia of red carpet coverage, reporting poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel, worlds away from the hot celebrity arrivals.

Seacrest gets the cold shoulder

While there were no organized anti-Seacrest protests or official statements from anybody saying that they would purposely avoid him, it's worth noting that lots of Oscars attendees walked right past Seacrest on the red carpet and talked to other entertainment reporters instead. For example, of the 20 men and women nominated for acting awards, 16 skipped Seacrest. Among them were all five outstanding actress in a leading role nominees: Frances McDormand (who won for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Margot Robbie, Sally Hawkins, Meryl Streep, and Saoirse Ronan. Three out of five supporting actress nominees: Laurie Metcalf, Octavia Spencer, and Lesley Manville.

Other big stars were spotted walking right past Seacrest like he wasn't there. Among those A-listers were presenters Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Lawrence (who earlier hinted on The Howard Stern Show that she'd avoid Seacrest), Laura Dern, Gal Gadot, Lupita Nyong'o, Emma Stone, Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis, and nominated Lady Bird writer-director Greta Gerwig. Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd, who talked specifically about the changing Hollywood landscape to other reporters and on stage during the Oscars broadcast, were two more notable actresses who did not give Seacrest an interview on Oscar night.

Did any stars actually talk to him?

According to Page Six, a mere 21 people in all threw Seacrest a bone. Among them were his Live! with Kelly and Ryan co-host Kelly Ripa, supporting actor nominees Christopher Plummer and Richard Jenkins, Tiffany Haddish, Whoopi Goldberg, Rita Moreno, Donald Sutherland, Common, Miguel, about-to-be-an-Oscar winner Allison Janney, and double-nominated singer/actress Mary J. Blige.

Seacrest's most notable interview of the night came with Empire star and beloved force of nature Taraji P. Henson. After some superficial chit-chat, Henson stroked Seacrest's chin and ominously said, "You know what? The universe has a way of taking care of the good people. You know what I mean?" 

Twitter erupted, believing Henson had basically called Seacrest out to his face and warned him that he'd get what was coming to him. (One user quipped that Henson "just put a curse on Seacrest." After she left Seacrest, Henson told ABC correspondent Wendi McLendon-Covey that she was "great now that I'm in your company."

His career is in jeopardy

One thing is certin: Seacrest's presence on the red carpet is worthless to E! if celebrities won't talk to him, and if the 2018 Oscars is any indication, the TV and radio host's future success in the entertainment industry — which survives solely on his access to celebrity interviews — is in serious jeopardy.

In addition to the E! coverage, Seacrest was all over ABC's Oscars broadcast. His voice and face have also appeared in multiple advertisements for the network's American Idol revival. Seacrest will resume hosting the new edition of the series in March 2018, probably to the chagrin of ABC's damage-control department. 

And let's not forget that Seacrest co-hosts Live! with Kelly and Ryan – that show's ratings are also dropping. 

"It seems Ryan has lost his Midas touch," a source told In Touch, suggesting that his days with Kelly Ripa were numbered. "The decision to add Ryan was supposed to be a slam dunk, but he's just not registering with viewers for some reason."

He says the allegations are 'salacious'

Seacrest has continued to maintain his innocence. In a statement (via Entertainment Weekly), he discussed the #MeToo and Times Up movements and defended himself against the allegations leveled at him.

"Much has been said about the #MeToo and Times Up movement(s) and the importance of providing women and men with the opportunity to share their stories of workplace misconduct, in an effort to change our culture and the systemic inequalities that exist. I absolutely support this cause unequivocally and applaud all the brave souls who have come forward to share their stories," he said.

Seacrest insisted that his "name was cleared" and noted that he "eagerly participated in the investigation in order to demonstrate my innocence because I know my truth, and I believe in due process." He also claimed that Variety — the publication that "published a salacious story that revealed the specific claims against me for the first time" — did not even speak with him.

"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," Seacrest said. Hardy's legal team has denied asking for money. 

Seacrest concluded his initial statement with the following: "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."

That statement was issued in February 2018, but clearly, this matter has not been put to rest. Nicki Swift will keep you updated as the controversy surrounding Ryan Seacrest continues to unfold.