Both ABC president Channing Dungey and the CEO of American Idol’s production company FremantleMedia are standing by host Ryan Seacrest in the wake of sexual misconduct accusations from his former stylist Suzie Hardy, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Seacrest is returning to his longtime gig hosting American Idol on the ABC reboot, for which he is earning a salary of a little over $10 million. From THR:
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey and Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of the show’s producer, FremantleMedia, voice support for Seacrest. “We stand by the results of the investigation,” says Dungey, referencing the independent inquiry E! commissioned that cleared Seacrest. Adds Frot-Coutaz: “I’ve known Ryan now for almost 16 years. I stand by him. Obviously it’s unfortunate. I’m not privy to the details. He seems to be very robust in his defense. And we’ll see where it all goes.”
ABC is the second network to stand by Seacrest after Hardy came forward with allegations that Seacrest smacked her backside so hard that it left a welt, grabbed her crotch, and pushed her down on a bed and rubbed his erection against her while wearing only underwear. E! also threw its support behind Seacrest and even reportedly instituted a 30-second tape delay should anyone challenge him while he hosted the network’s Oscars red carpet coverage.
Seacrest has denied Hardy’s accusations and accused her of trying to shake him down for a multi-million dollar payout, which Hardy has denied.
“Sadly, last fall I became one of the accused, which I promptly revealed proactively to the network involved and to the public,” Seacrest said in a statement. “And to be equally clear, those accusations were then investigated by an independent third-party over the course of a two-month process and involved dozens of interviews that included me, the accuser and countless others. Ultimately, my name was cleared. I eagerly participated in the investigation in order to demonstrate my innocence because I know my truth, and I believe in due process.”