Award show red carpets are designed to be frothy fun affairs where fashion is instantly critiqued, gentle small talk is spread across hundreds of entertainment news cameras and maybe something meme-friendly can tumble out to keep Twitter busy. The dynamics of these red carpet set-ups have been evolving with stars using the platform to speak out about important causes and push back against the sexist mechanics tied to the whole enterprise. As the first Oscars red carpet of the #MeToo era looms, the woman at the genesis of the movement is questioning what Ryan Seacrest is doing continuing with his E! Academy Awards gig.
#MeToo founder Tarana Burke spoke with Variety ahead of tonight’s ceremony and she took issue with E!’s decision to keep Seacrest at his post while he stands accused of sexual misconduct and harassment. (Seacrest has denied the claims leveled against him.)
“They really shouldn’t send him [to the Oscars],” said Burke. “We shouldn’t have to make those choices of, ‘Do we or don’t we?’”
There have been reports ahead of the broadcast that a number of stars will steer clear of Seacrest during their red carpet trek. Burke stresses that it’s not a situation where she’s rendering judgment on Seacrest ahead of legal process, but rather it’s an issue of respecting and acknowledging the seriousness of these sorts of accusations.
“This is not about his guilt or innocence,” Burke explains. “It’s about there being an accusation that’s alive, and until they sort of out, it’s really on E! News and shouldn’t be on us. … It will let us know where they stand in terms of how respectful E! News is of this issue – and of women.”
It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility that the appropriateness of Seacrest’s red carpet status will be addressed to his face during E!’s coverage. Either way, Twitter is unlikely to let this subject go unnoticed even with the emphasis on glitz and glamour.