Rachel Dolezal’s upcoming Netflix documentary sparks major backlash on social media

Rachel Dolezal, the troubled former NAACP leader who claimed to be African-American, is the subject of an upcoming Netflix documentary that’s already causing major backlash.

Social media users are criticizing the streaming service for giving the 40-year-old a spotlight with a film that explores how she portrayed herself as African-American for years, despite being born biologically white.

“At the end of the day, #RachelDolezal was able to secure a Netflix special because of her white privilege,” wrote one Twitter user Thursday.

“It’s VERY important that we DO NOT watch @netflix #RachelDolezal doc,” chimed another. “We can’t give validity to her ‘plight.’ We vote w/ our views & $, even if you want to hate watch, it would ultimately justify Netflix giving her a voice. She could’ve been an ally w/o appropriating. Do better.”

“Sick to death of #RachelDolezal and apparently her kid is too,” added a Twitter user. “I understand that the documentary is a way to ‘explore the conversation’… but is this a ‘transracism’ and conversation we need to have?!!!”

Dolezal’s teenage son Franklin, who is African-American, is also seen openly criticizing his mother for seemingly embracing the growing media attention for her questionable behavior.

“I really do not want to focus on this for the rest of my life,” he said in the clip. “Why don’t you just let it go away?… This is going to affect more than just your life.”

He then tells the camera, “I resent some of her choices and I resent some of the words she’s spoken in interviews… The more that I hear about it, the more that I talk to people about it, the more that it drains me.”

Netflix revealed that since the controversy erupted, director Laura Brownson and her production team have filmed with Dolezal, her sons and her adopted sister Esther.

“The Rachel Divide,” which is executive produced by Academy Award-winner Ross Williams, will premiere at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival beginning April 18.

The film will then be available for streaming April 27.

Courtesy: Fox News

Usher and wife Grace Miguel split after two years of marriage, amid ‘herpes claims’

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Yoobi teams up with Usher

R&B star Usher and his wife Grace Miguel are separating after multiple allegations and lawsuits claiming he’d givena number of women herpes.

The couple, who married in 2015, released a statement overnight, saying,“After much thought and consideration we have mutually decided to separate as a couple. We remain deeply connected, loving friends who will continue supporting each other through the next phases of our lives.”

And though they did not mention divorce, TMZ is reporting that that appears to be where the couple are headed.

Usher with wife Grace in 2015. Picture: Splash News

Usher with wife Grace in 2015. Picture: Splash NewsSource:Supplied

In their statement, reported by Us Weekly, they added “The enormous amount of love and respect that we have for each other will only increase as we move forward.”

Ms Miguel reacted to Usher’s herpes accusers back in November, telling us she and her husband are “living their lives”.

TMZ reported the couple were still together as recently as December bur but had not been pictured together in recent months.

Usher, pictured with Jermaine Dupri and Sean 'Diddy' Combs in December. Picture: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Ciroc

Usher, pictured with Jermaine Dupri and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs in December. Picture: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for CirocSource:Getty Images

Speaking to People magazine in 2016 about Miguel — who also worked as the singer’s manager — the star said, “I have an incredible partner and manager. She has helped me through some of the hardest times in my life and my career.”

Usher was previously married to Tameka Foster and has two sons with her, Naviyd Ely Raymond, 9, and Usher Raymond V, 10.

Two years ago, he spoke to People magazine about spending quality time with his family.

“I went on an air balloon trip with about 15 people … both my boys were up there with me, my wife was up there with me,” he recalled about a recent trip to Italy. “The whole family was up there. It was cool to just have that little moment away.”

Usher with ex-wife Tameka Foster in 2007. Picture: AP/John Smock

Usher with ex-wife Tameka Foster in 2007. Picture: AP/John SmockSource:AP

Last November, a lawsuit alleging the star had given a woman herpes was dismissed.

In July, Laura Helm filed a lawsuit against Usher, alleging he had unprotected sex with her and transmitted the disease.

According to The Sun, Helm was one of a number of people suing the R&B artist.

She alleged she slept with the pop icon on two separate occasions.

After the second encounter, which involved sex without a condom, she claims to have found a pea-sized bump on her vagina and a similar lump on her cheek, reported TMZ.

The court filings also detail Usher’s allegedly bizarre behaviour including having showers before and after sex.

Helm also claims the chart-topping star would grab his penis and run out the room before he ejaculated.

Usher was pictured out in Los Angeles last week, with seemingly no worries in the world. Picture: MEGA

Usher was pictured out in Los Angeles last week, with seemingly no worries in the world. Picture: MEGASource:Mega

The pair were friends for years before their relationship turned sexual in April 2017, according to the documents.

In their first sexual encounter, the singer wooed Helm by talking about his humanitarian work in Africa, his interest in water filtration and his concerns for the current state of American politics, said the claimant.

The second time the pair hooked up, Usher put on jazz music before performing oral sex on the fellow musician, the filings state.

The lawsuit was dismissed in November after a taped phone call two days before the lawsuit was filed, she reportedly told a friend she only had protected sex with Usher, according to TMZ.

Courtesy: News.com.au

— with The Sun

Jennifer Garner delights the internet by embracing her new meme

Jennifer Garner arrives at the 90th Academy Awards.
Jennifer Garner arrives at the 90th Academy Awards. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

It began, as these things so often do, on Twitter.

More than two hours into Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony, Jezebel writer Bobby Finger posted video of Jennifer Garner with a simple question: “What realization did Jennifer Garner just come to?”

In the three-second clip from the show, Garner applauds along with the rest of the audience before a look of vague concern crosses her face and she slowly stops clapping.

The internet was quick to offer suggestions, resulting in more than 3,000 replies to Finger’s tweet alone.

But none of the suggestions could possibly have the insight of Garner’s own contributions to the nascent meme, submitted by the actress in an Instagram story Monday night.

“Congrats to ‘Shape of Water.’ Maybe I should date a fish,” Garner said in her first pass at the meme, a reference to the newest best picture winner and maybe even her divorce from Ben Affleck.

“Hey, Jimmy Kimmel what’s in your wallet,” Garner queried in attempt No. 2, a nod to her affiliation with Capital One. “Wait, where is my wallet?”

Finally, Garner quipped about her upcoming HBO series “Camping” from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner.

“Can’t wait to work with Lena Dunham. Wait, did I sign a nudity waiver?”

Congratulations, Jennifer. You’re the internet’s new girlfriend!

(She’d probably be better off with the fish.)

Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

A ‘stressed’ George R.R. Martin is stepping back from his blog

A 'stressed' George R.R. Martin is stepping back from his blog
George R. R. Martin (AP Photo/Keystone, Sandro Campardo)

 

George R.R. Martin, the author of the fantasy books that form the basis for the HBO show “Game of Thrones,” is taking a break from his blog to concentrate on some projects — including, possibly, the long-awaited sixth novel in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.

Martin made the announcement on his blog Monday, writing, “All’s good, boys and girls… lots of exciting things going on. LOTS of exciting things. Maybe too many. I am buried in work, so much that it is starting to overwhelm me. Even with my army of loyal minions.

“So I am going to step back from blogging … for a while, till I get a few of these monkeys off my back,” he continued. “In the near future, you’ll likely see fewer posts here. And some of those will be by my minions.”

Martin didn’t specify which “exciting things” he’s working on, but “Game of Thrones” fans are likely hoping that “The Winds of Winter,” the next novel in his most famous series, is among them.

His readers have been waiting a long time for the latest installment — the most recent book in the series, “A Dance With Dragons,” was published in 2011. Martin has been reluctant to speculate when the latest novel will be finished. In a blog post in July, the author wrote, “I am still working on it, I am still months away (how many? good question), I still have good days and bad days, and that’s all I care to say.”

Martin is also involved in several television projects. His novella “Nightflyers” is being adapted into a television series on the Syfy network, and he’s also been working with writers on pilot scripts for HBO shows set in the “Game of Thrones” universe.

In his post on Monday, Martin promised he’d return to his blog “eventually. Just don’t know when.”

At the end of the blog post, he wrote, “Current mood: stressed.”

Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

Oscars 2018: Best picture goes to ‘The Shape of Water’

“The Shape of Water” has won the Academy Award for best picture. Gary Oldman and Frances McDormand have taken home the top acting honors, and Guillermo Del Toro won best director.

Guillermo del Toro (L) accepts the Oscar for Best Picture for The Shape of Water.

All of Hollywood was waiting to see how Jimmy Kimmel would open the 90th annual Academy Awards. Would he deal with the sexual harassment scandals? Yes, he did.

The late-night host specifically mentioned disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein by name and said he deserved to be expelled from the Academy. He joked that the Oscar statuette is the ideal embodiment of the moment — “as he always keeps his hands where we can see them.”

Kimmel also acknowledged the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against sexual misconduct and gender inequality, a major theme of the evening.

Read more: 90 years of the Oscars 

Awards spread evenly

The best picture award went to “The Shape of Water,” with director Guillermo del Toro dedicating his win to all young filmmakers around the world. He reminisced about being a young boy in Mexico and dreaming of one day being at the Oscars. He also took home the prize for best director, and the film was honored with a total of four awards.

USA Oscar-Verleihung 2018 | Best Supporting Actress Allison Janney (Reuters/L. Jackson)Allison Janney won the award for best supporting actress, for her role in ‘I, Tonya’

Gary Oldman won best actor for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in “The Darkest Hour.”

“I would just like to salute Winston Churchill, who has been marvelous company on what can be described as an incredible journey,” Oldman said while accepting his award.

The best actress award in a crowded field of talented women went to Frances McDormand for her role of a grieving mother in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” During her acceptance speech, she had all the women nominees and winners stand up and take a bow, and pushed for more funding for their projects.

In a category filled with amazing performances, the winner of the statuette for best supporting actress was anyone’s guess. Allison Janney ultimately won for her performance as figure skater Tonya Harding’s mother in the film “I, Tonya.” The best supporting actor award went to Sam Rockwell for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

‘Coco’ wins best animated film

Roger Deakins (Reuters/L. Jackson)After 14 nominations, Roger Deakins won his first Oscar for cinematography for “Blade Runner 2049”

The award for documentary feature was given to “Icarus,” the film which exposed the state-sponsored doping of Russia’s Olympic athletes. Best foreign film went to Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman,” the story of love and loss that stars transgender actress Daniela Vega. Pixar’s colorful ode to Mexican culture, “Coco,” won best animated film.

Germany was represented at the Academy Awards by Gerd Nefzer, who won an Oscar in the visual effects category for “Blade Runner 2049.”

“It’s a great moment in my life,” he said, speaking to reporters backstage. “I never thought I would make it as a German special effects artist at the Oscars. It’s incredible, I still can’t believe it.”

‘Time’s Up is not about the red carpet’

Unlike the Golden Globes’ “blackout” where women wore black dresses to protest sexual misconduct, there was no similar movement on the Oscar red carpet.

“It’s really important that you know that Time’s Up is not about the red carpet,” said powerhouse Hollywood producer Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal”) ahead of the ceremony.

“And those women you saw on the red carpet representing Time’s Up are now off the red carpet working their butts off being activists.”

Read more: Greta Gerwig — Oscar-nominated female director still a rarity in Hollywood

Before he was thrown out of the film academy after a tsunami of sexual harassment and sexual abuse allegations, Weinstein was central to the Academy Awards over the past two decades. Indeed, one study claimed that Weinstein was thanked more often than God in acceptance speeches.

Tradition was also broken in another manner. Typically the previous year’s best actor winner would present that statuette, but Casey Affleck, who won the award in 2017 for “Manchester by the Sea,” withdrew under amid a pair of sexual harassment accusations. He has denied the allegations.

WINNERS IN BOLD

Best picture

Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape Of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Actress in a leading role

Sally Hawkins (The Shape Of Water)
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
Meryl Streep (The Post)

Actor in a leading role

Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)
Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)

Director

Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)
Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape Of Water)

Music (original song)

“Mighty River” by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson (Mudbound)
“Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens (Call Me By Your Name)
“Remember Me” by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Coco)
“Stand Up for Something” by Diane Warren and Lonnie R. Lynn (aka Common) (Marshall)
“This is Me” by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (The Greatest Showman)

Music (original score)

Hans Zimmer (Dunkirk)
Jonny Greenwood (Phantom Thread)
Alexandre Desplat (The Shape Of Water)
John Williams (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Carter Burwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Cinematography

Roger Deakins(Blade Runner 2049)
Bruno Delbonnel (Darkest Hour)
Hoyte Van Hoytema (Dunkirk)
Rachel Morrison (Mudbound)
Dan Lausten (The Shape Of Water)

Writing (original screenplay)

Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick)
Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
Screenplay by Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor; story by Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape Of Water)
Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Writing (adapted screenplay)

James Ivory (Call Me By Your Name)
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (The Disaster Artist)
Screenplay by Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green; story by James Mangold (Logan)
Aaron Sorkin (Molly’s Game)
Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees (Mudbound)

Short film (live action)

DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett
The Silent Child
Watu Wote/All Of Us

Documentary (short subject)

Edith + Eddie
Heaven Is A Traffic Jam On The 405
Heroin(e)
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

Film editing

Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos (Baby Driver)
Lee Smith (Dunkirk)
Tatiana S. Riegel (I, Tonya)
Sidney Wolinsky (The Shape Of Water)
Jon Gregory (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Visual effects

John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover(Blade Runner 2049)
Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2)
Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus (Kong: Skull Island)
Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist (War For The Planet Of The Apes)

Animated feature film

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Short film (animated)

Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Lou
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

Actress in a supporting role

Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)
Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread)
Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)
Octavia Spencer (The Shape Of Water)

Foreign language film

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
The Insult (Lebanon)
Loveless (Russia)
On Body And Soul (Hungary)
The Square (Sweden)

Production design

Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer (Beauty And The Beast)
Dennis Gassner and Alessandra Querzola (Blade Runner 2049)
Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer (Darkest Hour)
Nathan Crowley and Gary Fettis (Dunkirk)
Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin (The Shape Of Water)

Sound mixing

Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis (Baby Driver)
Ron Bartless, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth (Blade Runner 2049)
Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A. Rizzo (Dunkirk)
Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier (The Shape Of Water)
David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)

Sound editing

Julian Slater (Baby Driver)
Mark Mangini and Theo Green (Blade Runner 2049)
Richard King and Alex Gibson (Dunkirk)
Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira (The Shape Of Water)
Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)

Documentary (feature)

Abacus: Small Enough To Jail
Faces Places

Icarus
Last Men In Aleppo
Strong Island

Costume design

Jacqueline Durran (Beauty And The Beast)
Jacqueline Durran (Darkest Hour)
Mark Bridges (Phantom Thread)
Luis Sequeira (The Shape Of Water)
Consolata Boyle (Victoria & Abdul)

Makeup and hairstyling

Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick (Darkest Hour)
Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard (Victoria & Abdul)
Arjen Tuiten (Wonder)

Actor in a supporting role

Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)
Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Richard Jenkins (The Shape Of Water)
Christopher Plummer (All The Money In The World)
Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

av, bik/cmk (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)

COURTESY: DW

Ava DuVernay, Dee Rees, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira celebrate at Janelle Monáe’s Fem the Future brunch

Ava DuVernay, Dee Rees, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira celebrate at Janelle Monáe's Fem the Future brunch
Janelle Monáe speaks to an audience of leading Hollywood players and stars at her Fem the Future organization’s brunch at Catch LA in West Hollywood on Friday. (Donato Sardella / Getty Images)

 

“We come in peace, but we mean business,” singer, actress and activist Janelle Monáe repeated Friday afternoon at an intimate brunch in West Hollywood. They were the same words she first shared at the 2018 Grammys earlier this year.

“We’re here,” she continued. “We’re not divided. And we’re stronger together.”

On the skylight-covered rooftop of Catch LA, Monáe’s organization, Fem the Future, in partnership with Belvedere Vodka, brought together female directors, actors, producers, musicians and activists to discuss personal hurdles, major victories, Hollywood’s current climate and gender equality.

Fem the Future, a grassroots group led by progressive millennials, seeks to create opportunities in the arts and offer mentorship and education for women and those who identify as women.

The guest list for Friday’s brunch included Ava DuVernay, Dee Rees, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Geena Davis, Rosario Dawson, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis and Tessa Thompson.

Lupita Nyong'o, left, Janelle Monáe and Danai Gurira attend the Fem the Future brunch at Catch LA in West Hollywood.
Lupita Nyong’o, left, Janelle Monáe and Danai Gurira attend the Fem the Future brunch at Catch LA in West Hollywood. (Donato Sardella / Getty Images)

 

“These moments where you actually get to be around each other are so empowering,” Gurira said. “You realize I’m not alone. And there’s so much more that can be done in collaboration than in isolation.

“As a woman, so often you feel you don’t have permission to say no,” the “Black Panther” actress continued. “You feel you have to please the establishment — that you have to please those around you in order to fit in. And what I was being taught spiritually, in a very clear sense, was no you don’t. You have to be you. You have to be authentically true to you.”

The two-year partnership between Fem the Future and Belvedere was created to encourage the next generation of voices and storytellers in film, music and the arts. Friday’s brunch was timed with the launch this week of the digital series “A Beautiful Future” on YouTube.

Monáe and Belvedere selected three female filmmakers, Janicza Bravo, Lacey Duke and Kirsten Lepore, to direct and produce short films inspired by the question: What does a beautiful future look like to you?

In a statement to The Times, Belvedere President Rodney Williams, who wasn’t able to attend the brunch, said, “Janelle shares our values of community and the ‘we, not me’ [approach] to create beauty in the world.”

Ava DuVernay, left, Janelle Monáe and Dee Rees attend the Fem the Future brunch in L.A.
Ava DuVernay, left, Janelle Monáe and Dee Rees attend the Fem the Future brunch in L.A. (Donato Sardella / Getty Images)

 

Danai Gurira speaks at the Fem the Future brunch at Catch LA.
Danai Gurira speaks at the Fem the Future brunch at Catch LA. (Donato Sardella / Getty Images)

 

Asked about the look of a beautiful future, Monáe said, “A beautiful future looks very inclusive for women — more women storytellers from all around the world who get the opportunity to speak from their unique perspective.”

Her hope is that Fem the Future plays a significant part in making an inclusive future for storytellers. Monáe said she started the organization out of frustration while working on new music.

“Here I am trying to work on my album, and I wanted to collaborate with more women producers,” Monáe said. “I told my A&R to reach out to as many as possible, and the list that I got back was so small and thin. It was very frustrating. It was sad. And I just wanted to put my anger to work.”

Monáe’s latest album, “Dirty Computer,” will be released April 27. She said she ended up collaborating with several women on the album and she plans to work with more female creatives on future projects.

From left: Yvonne Orji, Tessa Thompson, Ava DuVernay, Lupita Nyong'o, Janelle Monáe, Danai Gurira and Dee Rees.
From left: Yvonne Orji, Tessa Thompson, Ava DuVernay, Lupita Nyong’o, Janelle Monáe, Danai Gurira and Dee Rees. (Donato Sardella / Getty Images)

 

BET Chief Executive Debra L. Lee attends the Fem the Future brunch at Catch LA in West Hollywood on Friday.
BET Chief Executive Debra L. Lee attends the Fem the Future brunch at Catch LA in West Hollywood on Friday. (Donato Sardella / Getty Images)

 

During the brunch, guests, who dined on shakshuka, cinnamon-roll pancakes, kale chicken salad and avocado toast, also were reminded about the recent #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.

“When I see young women and older women speaking their truth and speaking out,” said BET Chief Executive Debra L. Lee, “it really encourages me that the next generation of women is going to find their voices so much earlier. And they’re going to be so empowered that we won’t be able to stop them.

“They won’t be afraid to speak up,” she continued. “They won’t take abuse or harassment. They won’t settle for being only 6% of the film directors. And they’ll have Ava and Lupita and …”

“And Dee Rees!” DuVernay yelled from across the room.

“Yes! And Dee Rees,” Lee said. “They’ll have all these wonderful women to look up to, and they won’t stop themselves.”

For fashion news, follow  at L. A. Times @latimesimage on Twitter.

Courtesy: L. A. Times

Colleague of Ryan Seacrest’s former stylist backs up claim the star repeatedly sexually harassed her

ABC star Ryan Seacrest has vehemently denied sexual misconduct accusations made against him by a former stylist, but the allegations are not going away, and may impact his job at this weekend’s Academy Awards.

A former co-worker of Seacrest’s accuser spoke to NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday to defend the TV mogul’s accuser, saying he witnessed inappropriate behavior on “multiple occasions,” and some publicists reportedly will be steering their clients clear of the lightning-rod red carpet reporter this weekend when he hosts E!’s Oscars special.

Suzie Hardy told Variety she landed her dream job as Seacrest’s personal stylist at E! News in 2007, only to be fired in 2013 after making graphic complaints of harassment to E’s Human Resources department. Now a former colleague is backing up her accusations against the ABC star.

“She would go to tie his shoe and Ryan would shove her head toward his crotch. I saw that more than once,” the man told “Today.”

The man, who worked with Seacrest, said that he witnessed Seacrest holding Hardy in a “bear hug from behind” back in 2008. “She yelled, ‘Get off of me,’ she was trying to get away from him. I could see an erect penis in his underwear,” he said.

Suzie Hardy, stylist for Ryan Seacrest

A witness claims he saw Ryan Seacrest sexually harass former stylist Suzie Hardy.

The source described Hardy as “visibly shaken” and he said he urged her to contact Human Resources.

NBC News reported that it has verified the man “worked alongside” Seacrest.

Immediately after airing the comments accusing Seacrest of misconduct, NBC aired footage that was provided by “a source close to Seacrest” as a rebuttal. NBC’s Kate Snow said the source claims the video shows that Seacrest is “uncomfortable” with Hardy tying his shoes. NBC also noted that people in Seacrest’s camp dismiss the source as a “friend of Hardy” who is a “disgruntled” former E! employee.

It should be noted that NBC’s “Today” is owned by NBCUniversal, which is the parent company of E!, where the alleged harassment occurred. NBC News withheld the man’s name because he still works in Hollywood and “fears retaliation” from Seacrest.

Misconduct claims were first levied against Seacrest last November. E!, where Seacrest was working at the time of the allegations, said it had investigated and found “insufficient evidence to support the claims against Seacrest.” However, Hardy’s comments to Variety provided explicit details to the accusations.

Hardy accused the ABC star of grinding his erect penis against her while he was only wearing underwear, groping her vagina and slapping her so hard on the bottom that she suffered for hours from a large, visible welt.

The source told NBC he did not witness the slap but was told about it shortly after it allegedly occurred. The source also told NBC he was interviewed during the E! investigation that found “insufficient evidence” against Seacrest.

Seacrest has denied the accusations, saying Hardy is simply looking for a payout.

“This person who has accused me of horrible things tried to buy her silence by asking for money on multiple occasions — I refused,” he said in a statement.  I have worked extremely hard to achieve my success and I don’t take my opportunities for granted. 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.”

AMERICAN IDOL - ABC's "American Idol" judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan with host Ryan Seacrest. (ABC/Eric Liebowitz)

Ryan Seacrest is scheduled to host “American Idol” starting next month on ABC.  (© 2017 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. )

Hardy’s attorney said there’s absolutely no evidence to support claims she demanded hush money.

While similar accusations have sidelined careers during the #MeToo movement, the claims against Seacrest have so far gone largely ignored by emploerys and business partners. He is still scheduled to host ABC’s reboot of “American Idol” starting next month and continues to co-host “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”

If Seacrest ends up being the latest powerful man to have his career derailed by sexual misconduct, it would be a significant blow to both NBCUniversal and Disney’s ABC. In addition to earning eight-figures for his ABC hosting duties, Seacrest is also responsible for the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” cash cow on E!. The numerous roles across two prominent companies make him, arguably, the most powerful man in entertainment.

Seacrest is also scheduled to work the red carpet for E! on Sunday’s Academy Awards despite a New York Post report that Hollywood publicists will avoid him at all costs.

“Usually Ryan is the one you want… but there are so many outlets on that carpet, why risk it? There’s plenty of other places for clients to get the exposure,” a PR “powerhouse” told the paper.

ABC did not immediately respond when asked if it would launch its own investigation.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

Courtesy: Fox News

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