Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel told Variety Wednesday that he will, as planned, be interviewed after the Oscars by Ryan Seacrest, despite the emergence of sexual-harassment allegations against the “Live With Kelly & Ryan” star.
“Of course I will,” Kimmel said when asked if he would keep the interview date. “Listen, you know, we should at the very least afford people the opportunity for truth, what the facts of the story are before hanging them out to dry.”
Asked if he would discuss the allegations with Seacrest, Kimmel said that he would not, adding, “He’s interviewing me.”
Seacrest has denied allegations, detailed in a story published Monday by Variety, that he repeatedly sexually harassed and abused Suzie Hardy during the six years that she was his stylist on “E! News.” Responding to Seacrest’s most recent denial Tuesday, Hardy told Variety that Seacrest “is not the victim, and I refuse to let him victimize me for telling the truth.”
Hardy worked as Seacrest’s “E! News” personal stylist from 2006 to 2013, during which time she said Seacrest subjected her to consistent unwanted sexual aggression. Hardy accused Seacrest of groping her vagina, grinding his erect penis against her while clad only in his underwear, and at one point slapping her buttock so hard that it left a large welt still visible hours later.
A former “E! News” employee told Variety that he witnessed the latter two incidents.
An ABC spokesperson confirmed earlier this week that Kimmel — host of the network’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” — is scheduled to record an interview with Seacrest and co-host Kelly Ripa immediately following Sunday’s Oscars telecast. The interview is slated to air the following morning on ABC daytime talker “Live With Kelly & Ryan” as part of its annual post-Oscars show. Kimmel last year taped a similar segment with Ripa and then-co-host Michael Strahan shortly after stepping offstage at the Oscars.
In addition to taping the Kimmel segment Sunday night, Seacrest is also scheduled to host the red-carpet pre-show for the E! cable channel. An E! spokesperson told Variety Wednesday that Seacrest will appear on the carpet as planned.
Kimmel told Variety Wednesday that the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, sparked by revelations about sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry, would play a role in Sunday’s telecast.
“It’ll be a part of the show,” Kimmel said. “I can’t give you a percentage, but it’ll be a part of it.” He added, “There are certain things and people that deserve mockery, and there are parts of that story that most certainly don’t. You just have to sort through that and plan your approach that way.”