A former E! News stylist who accuses media personality Ryan Seacrest of acting in a sexually aggressive and demeaning way toward her a decade ago reportedly demanded $15 million dollars to keep her silence.
News of the "Live With Kelly and Ryan" co-host's alleged misconduct first broke on Nov. 17, when Deadline and other outlets reported that E! News was investigating Seacrest over the claims. Seacrest worked for E! News from 2006 to 2012.
Seacrest denies he assaulted the woman.
"I dispute these reckless allegations and I plan to cooperate with any corporate inquiries that may result," Seacrest said in a statement.
A source close to the issue told Deadline that the anonymous woman wanted "a substantial amount of money to keep quiet." Worried that giving the payout might imply guilt, Seacrest decided to let the allegations -- which have still not been described in detail -- go public.
"I treat all my colleagues with kindness, dignity and understanding, as this is a principle that’s core to who I am," the Hollywood TV and radio host said. "I’ve endeavored to foster a positive work environment of mutual respect and courtesy, as that's how I believe it should be. I’m distraught that anyone or any situation would call that into question."
Seacrest added that he's proud of his reputation at work. He believes his "track record will speak for itself." Seacrest is co-host of "Live with Kelly and Ryan," has been a syndicated radio host, was the host of "American Idol" and worked with the late Dick Clark on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve."
TMZ revealed the details of the woman's financial demands on Nov. 21. According to sources familiar with the situation, the woman's lawyer called Seacrest's attorney and demanded $15 million. When the attorney didn't agree, the woman's lawyer said his client would accept a seven-figure amount.
The woman's lawyer and the attorney later sat down at a meeting with Seacrest on the phone. The lawyer read a press release that he said would be sent to the media unless their financial demands were met.
The woman says the misconduct occurred between 2007 and 2010. The statute of limitations on this type of crime is six years, so she is unable to pursue the matter in criminal or civil court.
Her lawyer denies they demanded $15 million. He told TMZ that all his client wanted was "an apology from Ryan and validation of what had happened and what she got was a complete rejection of the allegations and a request that she not go forward with an interview with NBC investigators."