Kelly Ripa Stands by ‘Live!’ Co-Host Ryan Seacrest Amid Misconduct Allegations (VIDEO)

Live! with Kelly & Ryan/ABC

On Thursday, Kelly Ripa broke her silence on the allegations against her Live! cohost (and good friend), Ryan Seacrest.

Seacrest found himself in the headlines this week when his former stylist, Suzie Hardy—who had anonymously accused him of sexual misconduct in November of 2017—came forward in an interview with Variety. The ex-E! employee is making said claims after her initial allegations were investigated and turned up insufficient evidence by the network.

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Until now, Ripa had said nothing about the situation. But during the March 1 broadcast of Live!, she addressed it to the audience—with Ryan by her side—defending the longtime TV personality.

“I just want you to know you are a privilege to work with, and I adore you, and I am speaking on behalf of all of us here,” she said to Seacrest directly. “I know what an easy, professional, great person you are and I feel very, very lucky to work with you each and every day.”

Hardy has claimed that Seacrest was wildly inappropriate with her over her six-year employment, alleging that he would hug her in his underwear, push her head near his crotch, and more. Not long after the story was released, the American Idol host released a statement:

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. … 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.”

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Seacrest is still set to take on his E! red carpet hosting duties this weekend for the Oscars, despite some requesting that he bow out this year due to the controversy. But according to a Page Six source, “There will be no Debra Messing moments this time round,” referring to the awkward exchange at the Golden Globes between the actress and Giuliana Rancic over the network’s mistreatment of female correspondent Catt Sadler.

Apparently, E! is working to secure talent that will only greet Seacrest with the usual enthusiasm. Time will tell what kind of impact this will all have on one of Hollywood’s biggest nights.