Warning: This piece contains language and content regarding domestic abuse that some people may find sensitive or triggering.
Last night the actress and TV personality Chloe Dykstra wrote an unlisted blog post on Medium detailing allegations of emotional and sexual abuse that occurred in a relationship over a period of three years. Since the post went live, many have speculated that the ex-boyfriend in question was TV host and podcaster Chris Hardwick; some, including his former employees, have publicly distanced themselves from the Nerdist co-founder. In a follow-up tweet, Dykstra, who is also the daughter of Academy Award-winning special effects guru John Dykstra, thanked people for their support and did not contest the connection.
“In my early twenties, I was a vibrant, goofy kid who loved video games, Doctor Who, dressing up in cosplay with my friends, and karaoke nights. One day, I met someone at a convention and ended up falling for a man almost 20 years my senior,” Dykstra wrote. “Our relationship started out poorly. Within 2 weeks, rules were quickly established.”
Those rules — which fall under what the National Domestic Violence hotline describes as abusive — applied to who Dykstra could see (no male friends) and what she could do (no alcohol, no going out at night without him). She goes on to describe a charming partner who turned into “a nightmare” when the cameras were gone, and one who demanded sex whether she was willing or not. The post details the effect his abuse had on her, including dramatic, stress-induced weight loss, pulling out her hair to the point of needing regular extensions, staying quiet in his presence in public, and “drifting through life like a ghost.”
“What I wanted was a partner, someone to confide in, someone to share things with, someone who wouldn’t judge me, someone I knew would be there for me,” she wrote. “What I felt that this man wanted was a woman who would feed him, sleep with him, and go to events with him.”
Dykstra also alleged that once she left, the ex had her blacklisted at companies she worked for regularly, effectively “steamrolling [her] career.” The blacklisting, she said, drove her to consider suicide more than once.
The reaction to the Medium post was immediate throughout the entertainment industry. Multiple writers for Nerdist Industries, the company Hardwick co-founded and then subsequently sold to Legendary Entertainment in 2012, have denounced him or stated they would no longer write for Nerdist.com.
::thumbs up emoji, nerdist:: pic.twitter.com/yRmGLF6PXh— Jill Pantozzi ♿ (@JillPantozzi) June 15, 2018
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
After Dykstra’s Medium post went live, the actress tweeted her thanks to those who had articulated their affirmation and support.
I quietly posted an article today, 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.— Chloe Dykstra (@skydart) June 15, 2018
Before she took her online hiatus, Dykstra tweeted about Nerdist Industries.
Before I take my break, I do want to address something re: the company he founded. As I understand it, the person has not been associated with that company for several years, and I hope that they will not suffer as a result of my essay. Be kind to them, they are good people.— Chloe Dykstra (@skydart) June 15, 2018
Hardwick hasn’t made any public statements since Dykstra’s account was published. Nerdist Industries, however, made a statement on Twitter this afternoon. “Like you, we were shocked to read the news this morning,” read the note. It included an additional statement from parent company Legendary Entertainment: “Chris Hardwick had no operational involvement with Nerdist for the two years preceding the expiration of his contract in December 2017. He no longer has any affiliation with Legendary Digital Networks. The company has removed all reference to Mr. Hardwick even as the original Founder of Nerdist pending further investigation.”
In a statement released to The Hollywood Reporter late last night, Hardwick denied the allegations, saying that “at no time did I sexually assault her,” and that he was “blindsided by the post.”
We’ve reached out to Dykstra for confirmation that the post is indeed about Hardwick, and to Hardwick’s representatives for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.
Update June 15th, 6:10PM ET: Updated to include a new comment from Dykstra.
Update June 16th, 9:10AM ET: Updated to include statement from Hardwick.