All eyes were on Ryan Seacrest as he co-hosted E! Live from the Red Carpet before the 2018 Academy Awards. People wondered whether Seacrest would get any interviews on the red carpet due to sexual harassment accusations against him (and which he denies). So, who stopped? Who did not?
Seacrest did manage to snag some big-name celebs for red carpet interviews, and the list did grow as the night progressed, but as of 7:30 p.m. on the east coast, the list was missing some of the night’s biggest stars (those missing included women like Ashley Judd, Frances McDormand, Meryl Streep, Mira Sorvino, Jane Fonda, and Salma Hayek. Some of Oscars’ biggest male names were missing from the Seacrest list too).
It started out slowly for Seacrest on the red carpet. “During the first 50 minutes of the network’s normally star-studded coverage, Ryan only managed to bag two interviews – with 24-year-old Disney star Sofia Carson and veteran song-writer Diane Warren,” noted UK Daily Mail.
The list grew – somewhat – as the evening progressed. Eiza Gonzalez of Baby Driver also spoke to Seacrest. Some of the biggest names interviewed by Seacrest were Hollywood star Whoopi Goldberg and Academy Award nominee Allison Janney, who is nominated for her portrayal of Tonya Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden. He also interviewed Mary J. Blige on the red carpet. Kelly Ripa didn’t just grant an interview with Seacrest; she also praised him on the red carpet, saying, “You look amazing. We were watching you upstairs in the hotel. You’re doing a great job.” He interviewed Common and Andra Day. Taraji P. Henson and Tiffany Haddish also stopped to talk with him.
Seacrest posted a photo of his interview with Kelly Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos. Seacrest’s co-host Giuliana Rancic was located in a different place during the broadcast, so she filled the time in between Seacrest’s interviews.
Seacrest has fought back against the accusations made against him. Daily Variety reported that Suzy Hardy, Seacrest’s personal stylist, alleged that “Seacrest subjected Hardy to years of unwanted sexual aggression — 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 hours later.”
According to The Los Angeles Times, Seacrest denies the allegations, saying in a statement, “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.”
Seacrest has also said that he was “cleared by a third-party investigator and said Hardy had repeatedly asked him for millions of dollars in exchange for her silence.”
Some people were upset that anyone stopped. “No one’s wearing black. No one’s wearing #TimesUp pins. Ryan Seacrest is asking questions on the red carpet as if he hasn’t been accused of sexual harassment & assault. Business as usual. Where’d our momentum go? #MeToo #Oscars90 #Oscars,” wrote Alanna Vagianos, a reporter at the Huffington Post. However, others said that Seacrest should be entitled to due process and his career shouldn’t be derailed because of an allegation he denies.
The founder of the #metoo movement had urged E! to keep Seacrest off the red carpet. “Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, sided with those who think Seacrest should steer clear,” reported Vanity Fair. “I feel like we should be celebrating the fact that people are finally paying attention to what we’ve been talking about for decades,” she told Variety.