Chris Hardwick, host of the Talking Bad and Talking Dead after shows on AMC, is the latest Hollywood celebrity to have his career sidelined by assault allegations. The comedian’s ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra, who penned an essay for Medium in which she referred to alleged abuse, never actually named Hardwick, but once social media got a hold of the story, all arrows pointed in his direction.
In her editorial, Dykstra referred to a man she dated in her 20s who was "controlling” and prohibited her from socializing or speaking in public. She also claimed that her ex pressured her into intercourse and made her take a TV hosting gig that she didn’t want. The show she appears to refer to is Just Cos on Nerdist's YouTube Channel. Nerdist Industries is a division of Legendary Entertainment, which was founded by Hardwick.
The essay goes on to detail other instances of abuse that emotionally scarred Dykstra. She writes, “I lost myself, both mentally and physically. I lost 15 lbs within weeks, started pulling out my hair (and had to get extensions regularly to hide it). I generally stopped speaking unless spoken to while with him, drifting through life like a ghost. I would try to sleep in as late as possible so my days were shorter. I stopped listening to music entirely. I ceased to be. I was an ex-person.”
She also discusses how she eventually ended the relationship. "After three years of being snapped/yelled at constantly, very rarely being shown any affection - I finally left him," she says. Despite her attempts to distance herself from the unnamed boyfriend, she says that he "made calls to several companies I received regular work from to get me fired by threatening to never work with them. He succeeded. I was blacklisted."
Hardwick has indirectly acknowledged that Dykstra was referring to him in the essay, though he denies her claims, stating, "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."
He also alleges that the relationship ended after he discovered Dykstra cheated on him. "I 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," he says at the end of his response.
Hardwick, who had had relationships with actresses Jacinda Barrett and Janet Varney, became involved with Dykstra in 2011. The relationship ended in 2014. The following year, he became engaged to heiress and actress Lydia Hearst, daughter of Patty Hearst and great-granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, the supposed inspiration for Citizen Cane. The couple married on August 20, 2016, in Pasadena, California.
Though Hardwick’s wife has not directly responded to the claims, she did pin a past post to her Twitter timeline that reads, “In my opinion and in certain instances, social media is not a place for true conversations. It's becoming more of a bully pulpit. I have received much verbal abuse for things I wasn't even alive for. I don't think people realize that there are entire families and generations that are affected by their hate and hostility. I know that these haters, abusers, and trolls shouldn't get to me, but sometimes they do.” The note preceded Dykstra's accusations.
In reference to the allegations, Patty Hearst posted a quote on Twitter, “Beware the person who stabs you and then tells the world they’re the one who’s bleeding.” She also referred to Dykstra as a "bunny boiler," a reference to the film Fatal Attraction in which Glenn Close's character boils a live rabbit in an attempt to terrorize Michael Douglas' character's family. Hearst has been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement, claiming she was assaulted while she was kidnapped in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
In the meantime, AMC has suspended Hardwick’s latest show, Talking with Chris Hardwick, and will replace him as a moderator at their panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month. "We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years. We take the troubling allegations that surfaced yesterday very seriously. While we assess the situation, Talking With Chris Hardwick will not air on AMC," the network said in a statement.
Dykstra, who still hasn’t named Hardwick as her abuser, posted a response to the social media outcry. "I quietly posted an article ... unlisted on Medium. It clearly made the rounds. I'm overwhelmed and I want to thank all of you for your support and kind words— they mean so much to me. I may take some time off the internet, please know your support means everything to me. "