One of the latest Hollywood men to face a reckoning for sexual abuse and harassment allegations is none other than the coiffed, bleached, talking head himself, Ryan Seacrest. The television host and radio personality was recently accused of sexual misconduct by his former stylist, Suzie Hardy, who claimed to have experienced “years of unwanted sexual aggression,” which included apparently included Seacrest “grinding his erect penis against her while clad only in his underwear, groping her vagina, and at one point slapping her buttock so hard that it left a large welt still visible several hours later.”
Seacrest has denied the allegations, which came to light in November, and E! conducted an internal investigation which concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support Hardy’s claims.
That said, many people are unconvinced of Seacrest’s innocence — so much so that E! apparently aired the Oscars on Sunday night with a 30-second delay in anticipation of having to edit out footage of Oscar attendees confronting Seacrest on the red carpet.
E! is putting tonight's red carpet on tape delay so that if anyone says anything mean—or, you know, true—about Ryan Seacrest the viewers won't see it. https://t.co/W7Hdj4fsAE
— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) March 4, 2018
It is telling that on Hollywood's biggest night, the #Oscars, in the year of #MeToo and #TimesUp, that it will be Ryan Seacrest, a man accused of wrongdoing, who is being protected on the red carpet with a reported 30-second time delay in case attendees challenge him.
— Tim Teeman (@TimTeeman) March 4, 2018
Seacrest reportedly had trouble getting celebrities to stop for an interview on the red carpet as a result of the controversy.
Ryan Seacrest's first hour:
One with Sofia Carson (a Disney starlet).
One with Diane Warren (A friend of Ryan's).
Both were pretty quick.
Other than that? A lot of delaying, a lot of cuts to Rancic, a lot of App/DotCom shilling, and a lot of commercials.#ERedCarpet
— Kevin D. Grüssing #IWillVote (@KevDGrussing) March 4, 2018
One moment from Seacrest’s interview with Taraji P. Henson caught viewers’ attention: specifically, when Henson spoke about karma and pinched Seacrest’s chin, saying “The universe has a way of taking care of taking care of good people. You know what I mean?”
Holy shit Taraji just put a curse on Ryan Seacrest ? pic.twitter.com/GSknn3NozF
— Sara Jean Hughes (@sarajeanhughes) March 5, 2018
Obviously, Twitter detectives were all over Henson’s choice of words, and decided that the actress must have meant for the remark to be an oblique reference to Seacrest’s inevitable karmic retribution.
— FLARE (@FLAREfashion) March 5, 2018
omg she did that SHE DID THAT ????????????????????????????
— kalli kayo (@kallikayo) March 5, 2018
— FLARE (@FLAREfashion) March 5, 2018
— Connor Behrens (@ConnorFilm) March 5, 2018
You catch that chin pinch???? Only a Queen could do that.
— Burton Bundles (@Jerron1234) March 5, 2018
— Mark Sundstrom (@106th) March 5, 2018
I guess that 30 second delay on #ERedCarpet couldn't stop miss Taraji P Henson
— Kim Rossible (@kimrossible) March 5, 2018
I can’t believe Taraji P Henson destroyed Ryan Seacrest on national television
— Jon (@prasejeebus) March 5, 2018
"I'm great now that I'm in your company." –Taraji P. Henson to the interviewer who talked to her right after Ryan Seacrest
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) March 5, 2018
However, the situation may not be as shady as it appears: the rest of the interview was actually extremely cordial.
— Siobhan Morris (@siomo) March 5, 2018
Henson later cleared up the “controversy” in an interview with People, saying that she actually meant the comment to be supportive of Seacrest. “I did it to keep his chin up,” she said. “It’s an awkward position to be in. He’s been cleared but anyone can say anything.”
So, perhaps there isn’t as much malice in the interaction as Twitter would like — but make no mistake, Henson (generally) doesn’t tolerate sexually exploitative men in her professional sphere. She recently parted ways with her longtime manager over a controversy