Comedian and TV host Chris Hardwick is facing harsh allegations after his ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra, dropped a bombshell in the entertainment media recently. According to Dykstra, Hardwick “sexually and emotionally abused her” throughout their relationship. Hardwick denies these allegations. Let’s look at how each side is projecting their messages.
Dykstra opened the conversation by posting an essay on Medium through which she wrote about a long-term relationship with an “older celebrity” who, she claimed, “imposed strict rules” on what she was able to say and do. While Dykstra did not name Hardwick in the essay, she offered details that were too specific for fans and the celebrity media to ignore. The “celebrity” would not allow her to have male friends, would not let her speak in public, or go out with friends at night without him. She then said the man “blacklisted” her in the entertainment industry.
Then she got personal, discussing sexual activity that read as and coercive and abusive. Who was this “monster,” people wondered. Dykstra described the man as “a mildly successful podcaster who grew into a powerhouse CEO of his own company.” It didn’t take fans too long to figure out who “the man” was. He was none other than Chris Hardwick. Fans also expressed sympathy and offered encouragement to Dykstra, and she immediately responded.
“The outpouring of support and love I’ve received over the past few days has been incredible and unexpected,” Dykstra tweeted, “After years of therapy and rebuilding your support has done so much for me than all of it combined…”
As an opening salvo, Dykstra definitely struck the sympathetic position. She was young, made some mistakes, and allowed some things she shouldn’t have. Her fans would relate, and they did. Dykstra’s follow up on Twitter kept this exchange of emotion going, and that certainly strengthened her position. AMC suspended Hardwick’s talk show after the allegations were made public. This move added credibility to Dykstra’s position, and it put Hardwick on the defensive before he even offered his side of the story.
Finally, Hardwick responded. He described his relationship with Dykstra as “not perfect,” before adding: “We were ultimately not a good match,” before insisting that he never assaulted her. In his response, Hardwick also openly expressed emotion:
“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.”
And so, the he said / she said lines are drawn, and fans are left to decide who they believe. Not so AMC, the network did what many others have done recently, suspended the star based solely on allegations. The AMC program, “Talking with Chris Hardwick,” was suspended, pending an investigation by the network. Dykstra responded that speaking out was not about hurting Hardwick but to encourage people to “make changes to protect themselves of stop the cycle of pain…”
At this point, while Hardwick is hoping this will all go away, Dykstra is intent on keeping the conversation going.