Chris Hardwick’s name is featured again in the “About” section of Nerdist. Though Hardwick founded the geek-oriented website in 2012, all references to him were removed in June following a lengthy Medium essay from Chloe Dykstra accusing her ex-boyfriend of extended emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
The website posted an official statement on its website Friday: “Founded by Chris Hardwick in 2012, Nerdist is home to the Nerdist Podcast Network, Nerdist News, and Nerdist Presents. Following an internal investigation conducted with the assistance of outside employment counsel into Mr. Hardwick’s conduct while employed at Nerdist we have made the determination to restore the reference to Mr. Hardwick as a founder of Nerdist. Nerdist prides itself on being an inclusive company made up of a positive, diverse community of people who come together to share, celebrate, and discuss the things we love. We absolutely do not tolerate discrimination, harassment, and other forms of abuse.”
Though Dykstra’s account did not identify Hardwick by name, several details pointed to him as the alleged abuser in question, from their ages (Dykstra is 29 and Hardwick is 46, and in the essay she describes “falling for a man almost 20 years my senior”) to his professional journey (“from a mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company” — Nerdist began as a podcast, and Hardwick rose to CEO of Nerdist Industries).
Dykstra accused him of emotional and sexual abuse, from imposing rules on her behavior — “I ‘should not want to go somewhere at night’ … I was to not have close male friends unless we worked together … As he was sober, I was not to drink alcohol … I was not to speak in public places (elevators, cars with drivers, restaurants where tables were too close) as he believed that people recognized him and were listening to our conversations … [and] I wasn’t allowed to take a photo of us” — to straight-up sexual assault: “I did what he said …Including let him sexually assault me. Regularly. I was expected to be ready for him when he came home from work … Every night, I laid there for him, occasionally in tears. He called it ‘starfishing.’ He thought the whole idea was funny.”
Though he denied Dykstra’s specific allegations, Hardwick confirmed the post was referring to him in a statement shortly after the story broke.
In response to Dykstra’s account, Hardwick was scrubbed from the Nerdist website, dropped from San Diego Comic-Con panels, and removed from AMC’s popular after-show Talking Dead. Following the conclusion of an AMC investigation, however, most of those decisions have been reversed. His name is back on Nerdist, and though AMC had tapped Yvette Nicole Brown as the new Talking Dead host, Hardwick will now return to his duties following the Fear the Walking Dead midseason premiere on Aug. 12. In addition, he will return as host of NBC game show The Wall this fall and will also appear as a guest judge on the new season of America’s Got Talent.
In a statement posted to Twitter on July 26, Dykstra said she chose not to participate in the AMC investigation, saying, “I have been adamant since I came forward with my essay that I never set out to ruin the career of the person I spoke about.”