“I just want you to know you are a privilege to work with, and I adore you, and I am speaking on behalf of all of us here,” Ripa, 47, told Seacrest, 43, while discussing the upcoming 2018 Oscars. (E! previously confirmed that the American Idol host will cover the red carpet for the network despite the scandal.)
“I know what an easy, professional, great person you are and I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day,” Ripa continued as the audience applauded. Seacrest replied, “You are happiness,” to which his cohost added, “You are happiness wrapped in chocolate.”
The radio personality was first accused of misconduct in November by an anonymous former E! wardrobe stylist. He denied the allegations at the time and the network launched an investigation, later saying in a statement that it found “no sufficient evidence to substantiate” the claims. The stylist, Suzie Hardy, went public on Monday, February 26, telling Variety that Seacrest allegedly shoved her head near his crotch and hugged her in his underwear multiple times, among other accusations.
Seacrest again denied any wrongdoing, telling Us Weekly in a statement, “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. … 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.”
The TV host’s longtime girlfriend, Shayna Taylor, also spoke out. “I have known you for 6 years and every day you impress me with your kindness,” she wrote on Instagram on Wednesday, February 28, alongside a photo of herself kissing her beau. “Not only to me or your friends and family, but most importantly in your work environment. You have worked SO hard to be where you are and you deserve it.”
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