Kelly Ripa has claimed it is a “privilege to work” with Ryan Seacrest, after sexual harassment allegations were made against him.
The 43-year-old television presenter was accused by his former stylist Suzie Hardy of being sexually aggressive towards her when they worked together through TV channel E! from 2007 to 2013.
Ryan has denied the claims made against him, and now his ‘Live! With Kelly and Ryan’ co-host Kelly Ripa has jumped to his defence, praising him as a “professional” and a “great person”.
Whilst speaking about Ryan’s upcoming appearance at the Oscars during Thursday’s (01.03.18) live broadcast of the show, 47-year-old Kelly told him: “I cannot wait to see you there. I am very excited. And I just want you to know, you are a privilege to work with and I adore you.
Speaking on behalf of all of us here. I know what an easy, professional, great person you are, and I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day.”
In her article for Variety magazine earlier this week, Suzie claimed that Ryan groped her vagina, pushed himself up against her body and slapped her buttock so hard that a mark was still visible hours later.
Of the alleged abuse, Suzie said: “As proud as I am and as strong as a woman as I am, as smart as I am and as much work as I’ve done with therapists, it really affected me.”
Suzie claimed that the situation only ended in 2013, when she reported Ryan to human resources executives and her employment was terminated.
Just days after Variety published Suzie’s allegations, Ryan released a statement denying the claims made against him, and claimed that Suzie has accused him of “horrible things” in the past in order to extort money from the star in return for her silence.
He said: “Yesterday, Variety published a salacious story that revealed the specific claims against me for the first time – even though an independent third-party investigator found insufficient evidence to support the claims. Much to my dismay, Variety didn’t speak with me or bother to speak with other credible witnesses or even ask for any of the evidence that was obtained during the investigation when offered, all of which clearly challenged the veracity of the claims made against me.
“This person who has accused me of horrible things tried to buy her silence by asking for money on multiple occasions – I refused. 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.”