Last fall, Ryan Seacrest was among the many famous, powerful men accused of sexual misconduct – but, he says, he was officially exonerated late last week.
In a new guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, the veteran entertainment host and producer reflected on the stress of the accusations and promised to continue using his many public platforms to continue calling for change within the industry.
"I do not take things for granted," Seacrest began his piece. "Every day I am living my childhood dream because of the effort of so many other people. I do my best to show and express my gratitude to my co-hosts, producers, guests, audiences, executives, partners and fans for the privilege of their collaboration and participation, and for the unwavering support of my loved ones and team."
The American Idol host recalled how, last November, approximately a month after news broke of Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual harassment and assault, he received a letter from a lawyer representing a former show stylist who claimed he had "mistreated" her more than a decade ago, when both he and she worked at the E! Network.
"To have my workplace conduct questioned was gut-wrenching," Seacrest wrote. "I've always aimed to treat all of my colleagues with honesty, respect, kindness and compassion. Yet, I knew, regardless of the confidence I had that there was no merit to the allegations, my name would likely soon appear on the lists of those suspected of despicable words and deeds."
Seacrest therefore opted to address the issue head-on and brought the letter immediately to the network, telling them that he would cooperate on any investigation they felt necessary. He also publicly denied the claims, and the specific details of the allegation were never made public.
On February 1st, Seacrest said he received notice that "an independent third party found the claims to be unsubstantiated and that there was no evidence of wrongdoing on my part."
Regardless, Seacrest said the incident was a wake-up call to continue using his influence to further the conversation about equality and behaviors, regardless of "gender, race, faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or other status."
"My job is to listen," he wrote. "Beyond listening, which I will continue in earnest, I also will ask questions and try to help voices be heard. It isn’t lost on me that my platforms – radio, TV, social media – an be powerful conduits for change."