Sunday evening when Taraji P. Henson made a stop on the red carpet with E! News correspondent and national personality Ryan Seacrest, a few words exchanged may have seemed as though the Empire star was throwing subliminal shots at Seacrest who is currently facing allegations sexual misconduct.
It was business as usual when Seacrest was speaking with Henson about Mary J. Blige, who was up for two Oscar nominations during the 90th Academy Awards. Taraji would respond to Seacrest’s prompts by saying, “You know, the universe has a way taking care the good people,” Taraji then touched Seacrest’s chin with her finger, adding. “You know what I mean?”
Now the comment was originally conceived as double entendre sorts as she referred to the success enjoyed by her close friend Blige, whose own string personal dramas threatened to eclipse her newest season pressional success, while alluding to the allegations brought on by Seacrest’s former stylist Suzie Hardy.
Many took it as a moment Henson attempting to shade Seacrest while others criticized E!’s decision to place Seacrest at his usual post on the red carpet given the climate concerning sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood. But, according to Henson the double message was delivered in support Ryan Seacrest, not against him.
“I did it to keep his chin up. It’s an awkward position to be in. He’s been cleared but anyone can say anything,” she told PEOPLElater on in the evening, adding that she “absolutely” supports him.
Seacrest has vehemently denied all allegation brought against him by Hardy who alleges that he sexually assaulted her multiple times between 2007 and 2013 while she was employed by E!