In a blog post on Medium, actress Chloe Dykstra appears to accuse her ex-boyfriend, well-known nerd Chris Hardwick, of years of abuse.
Chloe Dykstra’s post does not name a particular man, but the timeline she describes aligns with the three years she was dating Hardwick, the founder of Nerdist and the host of shows like AMC’s The Talking Dead.
Update 6 (July 25): AMC has announced that Hardwick will return to his two shows on AMC following an investigation into the allegations.
“Following a comprehensive assessment by AMC, working with Ivy Kagan Bierman of the firm Loeb & Loeb, who has considerable experience in this area, Chris Hardwick will return to AMC as the host of Talking Dead and Talking With Chris Hardwick,” the network said. “We take these matters very seriously and given the information available to us after a very careful review, including interviews with numerous individuals, we believe returning Chris to work is the appropriate step.”
AMC tasked Walking Dead superfan Yvette Nicole-Brown with taking on Hardwick’s SDCC duties last week.
Update 5 (June 21): Chris Hardwick’s wife Lydia Hearst has made a post on Instagram in which she supports her husband. “I have made the decision to come out in support of my husband not out of obligation, but out of necessity to speak the truth about the person I know,” she writes. “Chris is nothing but loving and compassionate and is the only person who has stood by me, never judged me, helped me heal, and feel whole. To defend my husband would be giving credence to any of these accusations. I will not do that. Chris Hardwick is a good man.”
“I remain in complete support of my husband, and I believe that the truth will always win. #TimesUp because I know my truth and I believe in due process.”
This is not a statement in defense, this is a statement of defense. Defense for all the women who have been sexually abused, raped, trafficked, and tortured; defense of all the people who this movement was started for. Over the last year the #MeToo movement has rightly aimed a spotlight directly on women whose stories needed to be told. As someone who has been involved in toxic relationships in the past, I know first hand the importance of sharing these stories and do not take this situation lightly. I have made the decision to come out in support of my husband not out of obligation, but out of necessity to speak the truth about the person I know. Chris is nothing but loving and compassionate and is the only person who has stood by me, never judged me, helped me heal, and feel whole. To defend my husband would be giving credence to any of these accusations. I will not do that. Chris Hardwick is a good man. I remain in complete support of my husband, and I believe that the truth will always win. #TimesUp because I know my truth and I believe in due process.
Update 4 (June 16, 3 PM ET): AMC issued a statement on Saturday. In it they announce that they’re pulling the new season of Talking with Chris Hardwick which was scheduled to premiere Sunday, June 17. Also, Hardwick will not appear at SDCC next month, where he was scheduled to host the Doctor Who panel featuring the first female doctor, Jodie Whittaker.
“We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years,” AMC said. “We take the troubling allegations that surfaced yesterday very seriously. While we assess the situation, ‘Talking with Chris Hardwick’ will not air on AMC, and Chris has decided to step aside from moderating planned AMC and BBC America panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month.”
Update 3 (11 PM ET): Hardwick has issued a statement in which he denies the allegations:
“These are very serious allegations and not to be taken lightly which is why I’ve taken the day to consider how to respond. I was heartbroken to read Chloe’s post. Our three year relationship was not perfect—we were ultimately not a good match and argued—even shouted at each other—but I loved her, and did my best to uplift and support her as a partner and companion in any way and at no time did I sexually assault her.”
“When we were living together, I found out that Chloe had cheated on me, and I ended the relationship. For several weeks after we broke up, she asked to get back together with me and even told me she wanted to have kids with me, ‘build a life’ with me and told me that I was ‘the one,’ but I did not want to be with someone who was unfaithful. I’m devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur. l was blindsided by her post and always wanted the best for her. As a husband, a son, and future father, I do not condone any kind of mistreatment of women.”
Update 2 (3 PM ET): In a statement, Nerdist says they were “shocked” to read the news concerning Hardwick.
“Nerdist prides itself on being an inclusive company made up of a positive, diverse community of people who come together to share and discuss the things we love,” they said in a statement. “That type of behavior is contrary to everything we stand for and believe in, and we absolutely don’t tolerate discrimination, harassment, and other forms of abuse.”
In a separate statement, Nerdist’s parent company Legendary Digital Networks says that Hardwick has had “no operational involvement with Nerdist for the two years preceding the expiration of his contract in December 2017.”
Update (11 AM ET): On its About page, Nerdist has removed all mention of Hardwick. It previously quoted him, and described him as the center of the Nerdist “digital media empire”.
::thumbs up emoji, nerdist:: pic.twitter.com/yRmGLF6PXh
— Jill Pantozzi ♿ (@JillPantozzi) June 15, 2018
In addition, at least one writer has left the site following the accusations: Scott Weinberg has announced his departure.
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) June 15, 2018
Original story: In her post titled “Rose-Colored Glasses: A Confession,” Dykstra shares very disturbing details about her relationship with Hardwick.
Dykstra accuses Hardwick of terrible emotional and physical abuse: He demanded no drinking, no going out at night, to be ready for him when he gets home from work, no speaking in public places, no close male friends.
She also accuses him of sexual assault. She writes: “At the beginning of our relationship, I was quite ill often due to my diet, something I’ll get to in a bit. One night he initiated, and I said, ‘I’m so sorry, can we not tonight? I’m feeling really sick.’ He responded, ‘I just want to remind you, the reason my last relationship didn’t work out was because of the lack of sex.’ It was a veiled threat. I succumbed.”
“Every night, I laid there for him, occasionally in tears,” she writes. “He called it ‘starfishing’. He thought the whole idea was funny. To be fair, I did go along with it out of fear of losing him. I’m still recovering from being sexually used (not in a super fun way) for three years.”
Dykstra also shares this terrible story:
I’ll leave you with this: I lost my period for a year because of anorexia. Somehow, I got pregnant ectopically (I was told I’d have to have surgery IMMEDIATELY because ectopic pregnancies are very dangerous and can often be fatal)- when I found out, I collapsed on the floor, terrified he would be furious with me. Between sobs I told him over the phone, “Please don’t be mad, and don’t worry, I have to have surgery to have it removed or it could kill me at any time.”
My fear of his anger at me for getting pregnant was literally greater than my fear of death.
Let me add here: I’ll never forget the night this man slept in a cot at the foot of my hospital bed after my surgery. It made me believe that deep down inside of him maybe there was a man who loved me.
Then, after my recovery, he and my mother were greeted by the doctor.
“The surgery went well, she’ll be fine,” said my doctor.
“Thank god,” said my mother.
“That’s great. When do you think I can have sex with her again?” said my ex.
It was his first question. My mother never forgot.
Further, Hardwick had her blacklisted from Hollywood once their relationship ended and she started dating another man.
“Because of my leaving him for someone else, he made calls to several companies I received regular work from to get me fired by threatening to never work with them,” she writes. “He succeeded. I was blacklisted. With the assistance of a woman who’d gained my trust and my heart over the past year, he steamrolled my career. The woman actively made it her mission to destroy my friendships. And she did, because by the time they’d realized she was… an unreliable source… the damage had already been done.”
Dykstra says she has written this post for two reasons: Closure, and to warn others that emotional abuse is common. At the end of her post she says to Hardwick:
A sincere and heartfelt apology could have made my last four years a hell of a lot easier. The person I used to date would try to sue me due to pride- I would not recommend it. I have audio/video that will support and prove many of the things I’ve stated in this post. I’ve chosen not to include it for your sake, in the hopes that the person you’ve become will do the right thing.
At least one woman who writes for Hardwick’s Nerdist is responding to the allegations and seems sure that Chloe is referring to Chris:
As someone who writes for Nerdist, let me just say…Chris Hardwick is a piece of trash and I believe women.
— Donna Dickens (@MildlyAmused) June 15, 2018
Hardwick has not responded to the allegations, but we’ll keep this post updated with any developments.