Back in November, Ryan Seacrest denied an allegation from an unnamed stylist who accused Seacrest of unspecified misconduct said to have taken place around ten years ago. Then on February 1, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that an independent third party investigating the claims found no evidence of misconduct.
It's easy to see a false allegation as something detrimental to the #MeToo movement, which began after the initial accusations of sexual misconduct against producer Harvey Weinstein in October. In fact, false accusations are something many naysayers have cited when defending those accused of sexual harassment and assault. If anything, however, this story hurts that argument. Seacrest's experience proves that men shouldn't be scared of false accusations, because when the accusation is indeed false, the system works.
The third party declared the claims unsubstantiated, and that's that. Seacrest's career didn't take a hit, neither during nor following the claims. We still saw him on the Golden Globes and Grammys red carpets, even though the accusation was in the middle of being investigated. This false accusation won't follow him for the rest of his life — it will barely follow him for the rest of this year.
"At a time when improper interactions between men and women, particularly in the workplace, are part of a national conversation, we must find a way to ensure that everyone — the public, private and public institutions, accusers and alleged accused — is given the opportunity for a swift and fair review," Seacrest wrote in a column about his experience for The Hollywood Reporter.
No one is denying the need for accuracy. Despite the claims of a certain Hollywood director with some skeletons of his own, this isn't a witch hunt. All survivors have ever wanted is justice, and Seacrest's experience makes it especially clear that there's nothing to gain from a false accusation, so let's stop throwing that phrase around when what we really mean is that we're not ready to face an uncomfortable truth about someone we maybe otherwise liked. One false accusation hurts no one, but years of silenced accusations hurt us all.
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