Ryan Seacrest's Colleagues Defend Him Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations
"There has never been any ill words spoken to me about him," Jayson Stacy, Seacrest's stylist/makeup artist of 13 years, exclusively tells PEOPLE
Ryan Seacrest‘s longtime colleagues are coming to his defense amid the sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him by his former stylist.
“There has never been any ill words spoken to me about him,” Jayson Stacy, Seacrest’s stylist/makeup artist of 13 years, exclusively tells PEOPLE. “He’s never been mean. With women, there’s so many females that work with us. … I never once heard anyone say that he’s done anything to make them feel uncomfortable – that he’s been mean to them, that they wanted to leave their job because of him.”
“He is the hardest working guy I know,” a source, who works with Seacrest, shares. “I think he’s so professional. The thing that I love about working with him is every day I’m challenged. He’s a great person to work for. I’ve never seen him raise his voice – sure, people get upset about certain things, but he’s always professional. I personally would never for 15 years work for someone that this person is alleging would do the things she’s saying. It’s just not something I can fathom.”
Stacy, who worked with stylist Suzie Hardy for six years at E!, says he did not witness any of the sexual harassment claims that she has made about Seacrest. “I never saw any of the things that she’s alleging,” says Stacy. “It’s unbelievable to me.”
“I can’t tell you the number of people that work with him – this is so out of character and it’s not the truth,” says Stacy. “Ryan is the greatest boss. We all know the truth.”
Hardy’s attorney, Howard E. King, said in a statement to PEOPLE on Thursday, “I am sure that Ryan can present lots of employees who were not present when the incidents occurred to say they saw nothing. That is probative of nothing. Let’s see Ryan (not his representatives) publicly declare that he never touched Suzie’s genitals, never slapped her posterior and never chased her around in his underwear with an erection. He will never do that.”
She has accused the producer and TV host of sexually harassing and assaulting her over the six years that she was employed by E! from 2007-13, including grabbing her crotch multiple times.
The 43-year-old host has adamantly denied these claims.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Tuesday, Seacrest accused Hardy of attempting to blackmail him. “Much has been said about the #MeToo and Times Up movement(s) and the importance of providing women and men with the opportunity to share their stories of workplace misconduct, in an effort to change our culture and the systemic inequalities that exist. I absolutely support this cause unequivocally and applaud all the brave souls who have come forward to share their stories,” Seacrest’s statement began.
“Sadly, last fall I became one of the accused, which I promptly revealed proactively to the network involved and to the public. And to be equally clear, those accusations were then investigated by an independent third-party over the course of a two-month process and involved dozens of interviews that included me, the accused and countless others. Ultimately, my name was cleared. I eagerly participated in the investigation in order to demonstrate my innocence because I know my truth, and I believe in due process.”
“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,” Seacrest said.
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He concluded: “This person who has accused me of horrible things offered, on multiple occasions, to withdraw her claims if I paid her millions of dollars. 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.”
Hardy’s attorney, Howard E. King of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP, said of Seacrest’s denial statement: “Not only is that false, but it is an attempt to smear the victim and divert attention from her very specific and supportable claims.”
Seacrest’s Live! co-host and close friend Kelly Ripa “is fully supportive and 110 percent behind him,” an insider told PEOPLE. Spokespeople for both American Idol and iHeartMedia are also in full support.
“When I’ve been on other jobs, and when people see him, they’re like ‘Wow this guy is the real deal. We totally get why he has the success that he has,’ ” says Stacy. “I have never been on a set where the mood has felt bad because I feel like he’s very good at making it flow.”
“I never once heard people talking about Ryan being inappropriate,” Stacy shares. “When you do work with him and see his work ethic, it makes you want to step up your game. If I was working with somebody that I felt like was, because I’m a gay man, if I felt like he was offensive to the gay community or a womanizer or just wasn’t a good person behind, that would leave a bad taste in my mouth — but I’ve never experienced that he was a bad person. He’s a great guy. He has inspired me to get to where I want to be in my career.”