Ryan Seacrest's former stylist has accused the TV star of sexually harassing her for years, claims which the TV host denies.
Suzie Hardy's allegations are detailed in a letter written in late November by her attorney, in which she claims that her job as a stylist with E! turned into an ordeal because Ryan was sexually aggressive towards her and that she felt she had to endure the situation in order to provide for her young daughter.
More specifically, she claimed that Seacrest groped her vagina, pushed himself up against her body and slapped her buttock so hard that a mark was still visible hours later.
Of the alleged abuse, Hardy told Variety: "As proud as I am and as strong as a woman as I am, as smart as I am and as much work as I've done with therapists, it really affected me."
Hardy claimed that the situation only ended in 2013, when she reported Seacrest to human resources executives and her employment was terminated.
Seacrest, 43, has repeatedly denied the allegations and an investigation into the matter - which was conducted by an outside counsel hired by NBCUniversal - has already found there to be "insufficient evidence" to support the claims.
In a new statement, Seacrest denied the claims and questioned why the claims were published without talking to him.
"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."
"This person who has accused me of horrible things tried to buy her silence by asking for money on multiple occasions — 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 - who was interviewed three times by the independent investigator - admitted to feeling exasperated by the outcome of the investigation.
She told Variety: "I felt like by the third interview, it was obvious the investigator was whitewashing it for Seacrest's side."
But an E! spokesperson has defended the process, describing it as "comprehensive and thorough".
The spokesperson continued: "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."
Meanwhile, Seacrest 's attorney, Andrew Baum, added: "On January 31st the network notified us that their independent third-party investigation had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support her claims, effectively, clearing my client's name.
"It's telling that after my client refused to pay her money, and the E! investigation resulted as it did, that she is now coming forward to share her debunked story to the press."
- Bang! Showbiz