This Actress Surprisingly Defended Ryan Seacrest at the Oscars

The 2017 Oscars were quite dramatic due to the infamous Best Picture mistake, but this year, the biggest drama actually occurred before the awards show started. Despite being embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal, Ryan Seacrest still hosted the Oscars red carpet for the E! network.

For the most part, Seacrest and his interviewees avoided the elephant in the room. But one actress actually brought it up. Here’s what went down with Seacrest at the Oscars red carpet, and the actress who surprisingly lept to his defense.

Seacrest did not acknowledge the scandal on the red carpet

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 22: Ryan Seacrest attends the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 22, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Seacrest is facing some ugly allegations. | Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

It came out back in November that Seacrest is being accused of sexual misconduct by his former stylist. But it wasn’t until the Monday before the Oscars that we heard the specific details, with the alleged victim telling Variety that she experienced years of sexual harassment and assault while working for Seacrest. Seacrest has denied the allegations, and an E! investigation concluded there was insufficient evidence of the woman’s claim.

Still, when the details of the allegation came to light, most people figured that there was no way Seacrest could host the Oscars red carpet anymore. But E! decided to keep him on. At no point during Sunday’s red carpet coverage did Seacrest ever acknowledge the situation.

In addition, even though the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements were such a big part of the entertainment industry in 2017, the E! network didn’t talk about that as much as you would expect. As pointed out by The Washington Post, when Seacrest interviewed Christopher Plummer, they didn’t even discuss the fact that Plummer had replaced a man, Kevin Spacey, accused of sexual assault.

Next: This was Seacrest’s experience with trying to get celebrities to talk to him.

Fewer celebrities than usual spoke with Seacrest

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Ryan Seacrest attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for NARAS)

He didn’t nab as many celebrity interviews as he usually would. | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for NARAS

All in all, Seacrest’s red carpet experience was relatively uneventful. But he did have a bit of trouble getting celebrities to talk to him. Indeed, as bigger and bigger celebrities arrived at the show, viewers at home noticed that E! was beginning to give more time to hosts other than Seacrest. It became clear that if you really wanted to see the night’s key celebrities being interviewed, you had to switch over to ABC.

TV Line later pointed out that of the people Seacrest interviewed, he only talked to four of the actual Oscar nominees. Among those were Allison Janney and Richard Jenkins; Janney also spoke with Seacrest on Live with Kelly and Ryan the following morning.

But one person who Seacrest interviewed did bring up the scandal in a subtle way.

Next: This was the actress who actually brought up the scandal.

Taraji P. Henson told Seacrest that the universe takes care of good people

US actress Taraji P. Henson arrives for the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

Taraji P. Henson seemed to be giving the host a message. | Valerie MaconAFP/Getty Images

Taraji P. Henson was one of the actresses who actually spoke with Seacrest on the red carpet. For the most part, their interview was rather friendly; Henson hugged Seacrest, and they spoke the way you would expect them to speak in any other year when Seacrest was not being accused of sexual assault.

But towards the end of the interview, it got weird. Henson told Seacrest, “The universe has a way of taking care of the good people,” she told him. “Know what I mean?”As she said that, she touched him on the chin.

Next: The comment drew strong reactions online.

This comment was interpreted as Henson throwing shade at Seacrest

US actress Taraji P. Henson arrives for the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

Was she throwing shade at Ryan Seacrest? | Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

On Twitter, Henson’s comment was widely interpreted as her throwing shade at Seacrest. People compared the interaction to an intimidating scene from The Godfather and freaked out that she had the guts to actually call Seacrest out, while not directly mentioning his scandal.

In addition, after the moment occurred, dozens of news articles were published about the encounter, with headlines like “Did Taraji P. Henson Shade Ryan Seacrest at the 2018 Oscars?” and “Ryan Seacrest Seemingly Slammed by Taraji P. Henson on the Red Carpet.”

Next: Henson also made this comment, which reinforced the idea that she was calling him out 

She also told the next interviewer that she’s doing good ‘now that I’m in your company’

Actor Taraji P. Henson attends the 2018 amfAR Gala New York at Cipriani Wall Street on February 7, 2018 in New York City. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

The actress seemed to take a jab at Ryan Seacrest. | Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

There was another reason to interpret this moment as Henson calling out Seacrest. After the Seacrest interview, the next person Henson spoke to was Wendi Mclendon-Covey from ABC.

When asked how she was doing, Henson said, “I’m great now that I’m in your company.” This comment could be interpreted as Henson saying that she was doing much better now that she wasn’t speaking to Seacrest anymore.

Next: What Henson says she meant by all of this

But Henson says she was actually defending Seacrest

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 18: Taraji P. Henson attends the Lip Sync Battle LIVE: A Michael Jackson Celebration at Dolby Theatre on January 18, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

She says she was actually defending the TV host. | Greg Doherty/Getty Images

But after this encounter between Henson and Seacrest blew up on social media, the actress herself came out and said that the whole thing was being misconstrued.

It turns out, Henson meant that Seacrest is one of the good people, and she touched his chin as a way of indicating that he should keep his chin up. “I did it to keep his chin up,” Henson told People. “It’s an awkward position to be in. He’s been cleared but anyone can say anything.”

People then asked Henson directly whether she was supporting Seacrest, and she said, “absolutely.”

Next: Seacrest responds to the drama over this interview

Seacrest later thanked Henson on Twitter

A screenshot of Ryan Seacrest's tweet

Ryan Seacrest later sent out this tweet. | Ryan Seacrest via Twitter

Later in the evening, after this encounter had already received tons of attention online, Seacrest took to Twitter to support the idea that it was not combative.

He wrote alongside a picture of Henson, “Nothing but love for my friend @TherealTaraji. Thanks for hanging out with us on the #ERedCarpet! #Oscars.”

Next: A second celebrity who seemed to defend Seacrest

Mary J. Blige also expressed support for Seacrest

US singer and actress Mary J. Blige arrives for the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Mary J. Blige also expressed support for Ryan Seacrest. | Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

Mary J. Blige was another celebrity who spoke with Seacrest on the red carpet. During their interview, she praised him and said he has great chemistry with his co-host Kelly Rippa.

Blige and Seacrest at no point actually discussed his scandal. But Blige later spoke about it to the press. According to Billboard, she said that she loves Seacrest and doesn’t know the truth about what happened.

She added that Seacrest is “fighting for his life right now.”

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!