So much for “Live” at the red carpet.
Given the swirl of allegations of sexual misconduct levied against its red carpet host Ryan Seacrest, E! is considering a 30-second tape delay in its live coverage of the red carpet to avoid any potential confrontations that may arise.
E! dismissed the news as its normal practice. “As always, we tape multiple sources of content simultaneously to deliver the best possible show, and there are often brief delays between interviews,” an E! spokesperson told Variety.
E! also faced controversy with its red-carpet coverage at the Golden Globes last month, where Debra Messing, Eva Longoria and other stars called out the network over former host Catt Sadler’s claims about pay inequality at the network. A veteran producer of the red-carpet show, Aileen Gram-Moreno, claims she was fired for allowing Longoria’s interview to make it to air. The network has denied her claims.
A tape delay for today’s carpet would avoid any such embarrassing moments. Tape delays and pre-recorded segments are a norm for some red carpet telecasts.
Ahead of the awards, there was much debate about whether Seacrest should take his usual post, with #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke telling Varietyhe should have stepped aside. “They really shouldn’t send him [to the Oscars],” said Burke of E!, the NBCUniversal network. “We shouldn’t have to make those choices of, ‘Do we or don’t we?’”
Celebrity publicists were divided on their approach, with some indicating that their clients would not speak with Seacrest, either avoiding him entirely or steering them to his co-host Giuliana Rancic, while others said they would not hesitate to allow their clients to be interviewed by the host. Jennifer Lawrence told Howard Stern she wasn’t sure whether she would, saying, “He has not been to trial for anything. I am not a judge. I am not a jury, you know.” But E! decided to stand by the anchor, saying he would anchor the Academy Awards red-carpet telecast, given that their investigation that found “insufficient evidence” of wrongdoing.
Seacrest has denied the 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.”
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.
News of the delay was first reported by Deadline.