NBCUniversal’s E! confirmed that ABC star Ryan Seacrest will nonetheless host the community’s crimson carpet pre-show at Sunday’s Academy Awards regardless of mounting allegations of sexual misconduct. It’s the most recent signal that the #MeToo motion hasn’t made a lot of an influence on the Comcast-owned conglomerate.
Seacrest has vehemently denied sexual misconduct accusations made towards him by his former stylist, whereas E! stands by an exterior investigation carried out earlier this 12 months that a spokesperson stated failed to provide adequate proof to substantiate these allegations.
“E!’s investigation was extraordinarily complete and thorough. Over the course of a two-month course of, our exterior counsel interviewed greater than two dozen folks relating to the allegations, together with a number of separate conferences with the claimant and all firsthand witnesses that she supplied. The investigator is an legal professional with almost 20 years expertise and is very regarded professionally,” a community spokesperson instructed Fox Information. “Any claims that query the legitimacy of this investigation are utterly baseless.”
For the reason that investigation was concluded, Seacrest’s accuser, Suzy Hardy, has publicly come ahead, accusing the star of grinding his erect penis towards her whereas clad solely in underwear, grabbing her vagina, and slapping her backside with such pressure that she suffered from a big, seen welt for hours. On Tuesday, NBCUniversal’s personal “Right this moment” present aired a section detailing accusations by an eyewitness who corroborated Hardy’s surprising claims. The eyewitness, an nameless former colleague of Seacrest, instructed “Right this moment’ that he witnessed inappropriate conduct on “a number of events” and was interviewed in the course of the exterior investigation that didn’t end in any self-discipline.
TV historian and Syracuse College professor Robert Thompson instructed Fox Information that NBCUniversal is in a tricky spot — regardless of Seacrest being cleared by exterior counsel — as a result of crimson carpet occasions have change into a spot to debate the “political problems with the day” in the course of the #MeToo period.
“Pink carpet conversations have change into, nearly, a bit discussion board for discussions of those sort of points,” Thompson stated. “That’s going to make for a very tough dynamic in a job the place the very factor he’s purported to do is maintain a microphone in entrance of individuals we totally anticipate to speak in regards to the #MeToo motion.”
However, the E! community’s father or mother firm, NBCUniversal, seems to be unmoved. This comes as NBCUniversal has confronted persistent criticism for lack of transparency and resistance to impartial investigations of different intercourse harassment and intercourse misconduct points, largely occurring in its beleaguered information division.
Three months after the shock firing of NBC Information’ greatest star, Matt Lauer, for sexual misconduct, NBCUniversal remains to be conducting a top-secret, in-house investigation into who knew what and when in regards to the pervy “Right this moment” host’s conduct. Highly effective NBC Information chairman Andy Lack, who was shut pals with Lauer for many years, introduced a “tradition evaluation” of the division he oversees, however he and his embattled deputy, Noah Oppenheim, have thus far efficiently fended off requires an impartial investigation.
NBC didn’t reply to a number of requests for touch upon why the Seacrest scenario warranted an out of doors investigation however Lauer’s stays in-house.
Thompson stated he doesn’t have inside data nevertheless it’s exhausting to not bounce to the conclusion that an out of doors investigation wasn’t ordered as a result of NBC executives don’t “need what an enormous, exterior investigation would discover.” He stated it’s necessary to not merely assume anybody is responsible due to allegations however, on the similar time, any sexual misconduct claims should be taken significantly.
“The inner investigation is at all times a spot to begin however inside investigations are inside. One has to imagine that there’s at all times am situation of battle of curiosity with something inside,” Thompson stated. “Exterior investigations at all times have a way of being extra clear.”
An NBC spokesperson instructed Fox Information that the Lauer inside investigation is “ongoing” however declined additional remark.
Again in December, a former anchor at NBC Information instructed Fox Information she was in touch with “a number of ladies” who’re annoyed that NBC hasn’t employed an out of doors investigator to overview a tradition of sexual misconduct on the community. Fox Information additionally reported that in latest months, a bunch of ladies at NBC Information have been making ready a letter for Comcast’s solely feminine director, Madeline S. Bell, complaining in regards to the lack of an impartial investigation. The Comcast director declined to remark on the time.
NBC Information has additionally been extensively criticized for its determination to spike Ronan Farrow’s acclaimed reporting on Hollywood heavy hitter Harvey Weinstein that has racked up Pulitzer Prize buzz since being revealed within the hallowed New Yorker journal. NBC had the prospect to out Weinstein as a sexual predator months earlier than he was in the end uncovered, however opted to steer clear of the story. The spiking of the story occurred shortly after Oppenheim, who moonlights as a Hollywood screenwriter, was seated on the similar small desk as Weinstein at an unique New York Metropolis gala. NBC has denied that Oppenheim and Weinstein had any enterprise relationship.
In the meantime, Lack and Oppenheim have nonetheless not defined why they sat for months on the “NBC Entry Hollywood” tape of Donald Trump making lewd feedback about ladies. The tape of Trump caught on a scorching mic was leaked from inside NBC — simply weeks earlier than the 2016 vote — to The Washington Publish’s David Fahrenthold. He’s Oppenheim’s good buddy from prestigious Harvard College, the place they labored as editors collectively on the storied pupil newspaper, the Crimson. NBC introduced this week that Fahrenthold, who gained a Pulitzer for his anti-Trump reporting, had change into a paid political contributor on MSNBC.
Observers have mused whether or not NBC executives’ reluctance to reveal large stars’ dangerous conduct was linked to what Self-importance Honest just lately referred to as a “glass homes” drawback.
Additionally silent about Seacrest — his essential employer, ABC, which has staked an unlimited quantity on Seacrest by making him host of a do-or-die revival of “American Idol” and paring him with Ripa on “Reside with Kelly and Ryan.”
ABC and father or mother firm Disney have declined to touch upon the uproar now surrounding Seacrest, who along with his E! crimson carpet duties may be ABC’s greatest star.