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
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
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
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
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’
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
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
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
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.”
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