Kelly Ripa engaged in some unfortunate banter on Wednesday with her “Live With Kelly and Ryan” co-host Ryan Seacrest. In the show’s opening minutes, Ripa went in for an extended bit about helping Ryan with his shoes.
“Sweetie, do you want me to put your shoes back on for you?” she said, at one point leaning in a bit toward the floor. “I’m a mom, I can do that.”
“Do it in the break,” said Seacrest. “You don’t mind do you.”
Then there was more banter about Seacrest not being able to put on his shoes .
The moment would have normally passed without a second thought, but for the fact that Seacrest is now battling accusations of sexual misconduct from former E! stylist Suzie Hardy — some of which a witness said happened when Hardy was assisting Seacrest with his shoes.
NBC News’ Kate Snow reported on the “Today” show on Wednesday that a friend of Hardy’s told her that he witnessed Seacrest sexually harassing the stylist in real time.
“She would go to tie his shoe and Ryan would shove her head toward his crotch,” the man told Snow, according to the reporter. “I saw that more than once.”
Seacrest has consistently denied any accusation of wrongdoing and has declared himself to be a fan of the broader MeToo movement. Sources close to the star told Snow that the source corroborating Hardy’s account was “a friend of Hardy’s and a disgruntled former E! employee.”
Seacrest did not address new details from Hardy’s accusations of misconduct that emerged this week on his show on Tuesday or Wednesday.