By Sandra Gonzalez and Chloe Melas CNN
(CNN)– The line of well-dressed stars waiting to chat with E! on the Oscars red carpet may be a little much shorter this year.
As Ryan Seacrest continues to safeguard himself versus an allegation of unwanted sexual advances, E! has actually opted to wait its longtime host, saying today that he will occupy his normal post front and center of the action on the red carpet throughout Hollywood’s greatest night.
The choice will leave E!, its hosts, and the stars set to walk the red carpet in a challenging position at the occasion that marks both the culmination of Hollywood’s award season and the very first Academy Awards since the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements forced the entertainment industry to resolve its issues with unwanted sexual advances and gender-related injustice.
“I don’t believe [Seacrest is] going to have a good time on the carpet,” one long time Hollywood publicist tells CNN.
News that Seacrest was dealing with office misconduct claims initially emerged in November, when Seacrest released a preemptive declaration rejecting the allegations and revealing that E! was conducting an examination.
E! concluded its probe in early February, stating in a declaration at the time that outside counsel “found inadequate evidence to validate allegations against Seacrest.”
The accusations received brand-new steam on Monday, when in an interview with Range, Seacrest’s previous stylist, Suzie Hardy, comprehensive circumstances where she stated he searched and sexually harassed her.
NBC’s “Today” program aired a report on Wednesday in which a previous co-worker of Hardy’s, who NBC did not identify at the source’s demand, supported her story.
In action, Seacrest’s lawyer, Andrew Baum, claimed the witness who spoke with “Today” had actually likewise taken part in E!’s third-party examination.
“He was interviewed and his claims were completely evaluated,” Baum said in a declaration to CNN.
On Tuesday, Seacrest again denied Hardy’s claims in a statement to CNN, stating in part, “I do not wish to accuse anybody of not informing 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 misbehavior, and put the matter to rest.”
Insistent as Seacrest has to do with his innocence, it may not be enough to clarify before Sunday.
“It’s most likely simplest for some [stars] to avoid E!,” the veteran publicist added.
When asked whether executives at E! were worried Seacrest’s presence could hinder celebs from taking part in the network’s Oscars protection, an E! spokesperson told CNN, “It’s company as typical. Ryan will be hosting as arranged on Sunday.”
At January’s Golden Globes, which occurred after the accusations were initially understood however before E! had actually concluded its investigation, Seacrest apparently had no trouble getting popular faces to join him on air.
However, Seacrest and co-host Giuliana Rancic were criticized on social networks for not placing exactly what some felt sufficed focus on the activist guests who accompanied a number of nominees involved with the Time’s Up movement.
The E! hosts also had to compete with a few uncomfortable encounters in which they were questioned about the network’s handling of a pay disagreement with former on-air character Catt Sadler.
Sadler left E! in December after she says the network declined to close a pay gap she ‘d discovered between her and a male associate of similar standing.
In a statement at the time, a spokesperson for E! stated the network “compensates workers relatively and properly based on their functions, no matter gender.”
Eva Longoria, Debra Messing and Laura Dern were amongst those who called out E! while being interviewed at the Golden Globes.
“I’m sure a couple of will still stop and speak with Ryan, but I would presume that there are several celebs that will face him based on this and/or develop on the E! circumstance with Catt [Sadler],” the veteran press agent included. “Some will prevent [talking with E!] entirely. There are a great deal of cams on the carpet and one isn’t going to make that big of a difference.”
E! is probably the most noticeable– and for that reason popular amongst press agents– red carpet broadcaster.
Last year, E! averaged 2.03 million audiences throughout the first 3 hours of its Oscars red carpet protection and 1.74 million in the last half hour, per Nielsen information.
Though a fraction of ABC’s preshow numbers (15.9 million audiences from 7-8:30 p.m.), it’s a strong ratings result for E!, whose top-rated program, “Staying up to date with the Kardashians,” draws in about 1.5 million audiences per episode.
With hours of preshow shows to fill, E! is among the few entertainment-focused outlets that pay exorbitant charges to broadcast live. Rivals like Home Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood record interviews on the red carpet to air on their syndicated reveals the following day.
E! locations correspondents in several positions around the site, consisting of a bridge that neglects the scene at the Dolby Theater.
On the red carpet, few hosts can compete with the weight Seacrest’s name carries amongst influential circles in the show business, the sector that controls where celebs make stops during advertising trips and appearances. In addition to adding to E!’s red carpet protection for more than a decade, his gigs as host of a syndicated radio program, host of “American Idol,” and co-host of “Deal with Kelly and Ryan” have left him with plenty of goodwill and pals in the market.
Two former associates of Seacrest who worked with him at E! News told CNN they never saw any harassment and explained him as a “skilled professional.”
Another top movie press agent calls the accusation against Seacrest “a bit of a witch hunt,” acknowledging too that they were “definitely supportive to every female’s dreadful experience.”
“There has to be a much better way to handle past transgressions and ensure they don’t happen again without damaging a lot of careers.”
CNN’s Brian Lowry and Megan Thomas added to this report.
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