The 90th Academy Awards were supposed to be business as usual for Ryan Seacrest. Despite being accused of sexual misconduct (and subsequently denying all claims), the longtime E! host returned to cover the ins and outs of the red carpet, but things didn’t go as swimmingly as years past.
“Ryan was uncomfortable with all the attention,” a source tells Us Weekly exclusively. “He just wanted to do his job, but he was uncomfortable with the spotlight and being scrutinized.”
In years past, A-list attendees would line up to chat with Seacrest, 43, on air before heading inside the theater for the main event. But this year, “there was no line,” a second source tells Us.
However, the first source points out that “there was no one on the carpet for the first hour” of E!’s coverage. “People came really late,” the insider tells Us. “A lot of people only did photos and the pre-requisite ABC interview for nominees and presenters, and a lot of people didn’t even walk the carpet.”
But when celebs began showing up, there were some positive moments. Mary J. Blige showed her support for the American Idol host during their interview, telling him that she loves watching Live With Kelly and Ryan. “[That] just made everyone on the team beam with pride,” the second source says. “Ryan will never forget what Mary did in that moment.”
Seacrest was first accused of sexual harassment in November by an anonymous former E! stylist. He denied the claims at the time, and the network later said its investigation found “no sufficient evidence” to support the allegations. The stylist, Suzie Hardy, went public in an interview with Variety in February, prompting the TV host to once again deny any wrongdoing.
“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,” he said in a statement to Us on February 27.
Despite the scandal, Seacrest is trying to keep his chin up. “Ryan has been through a lot these past few months and has remained a consummate professional through all of it and will continue to do so,” the second source tells Us. “He will come back from this. He already has by showing up on that red carpet under very, very difficult circumstances.”
E! has continued to back the radio host, releasing a statement following the Variety report: “E!’s investigation was extremely comprehensive and thorough. Over the course of a two month process, our outside counsel interviewed more than two dozen people regarding the allegations, including multiple separate meetings with the claimant. The investigator is an attorney with nearly 20 years experience and is highly regarded professionally. Any claims that question the legitimacy of this investigation are completely baseless.”
With reporting by Jen Heger.
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