The website Nerdist has removed any and all references to its co-founder, Chris Hardwick, after seeming claims of sexual assault and emotional abuse surfaced against him on Friday.
“Chris Hardwick had no operational involvement with Nerdist for the two years preceding the expiration of his contract in December 2017,” a spokesperson for Legendary Entertainment, which acquired Nerdist in 2012, said in a statement. “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.”
On Friday, Chloe Dykstra wrote an essay on Medium detailing the alleged disturbing behavior of her former boyfriend, whose name she does not disclose. The various details she provides strongly indicate the man in question is Hardwick, with whom she’d been romantically linked until 2014 when they publicly broke up. (Hardwick married Lydia Hearst in 2016.) Dykstra’s essay “Rose-Colored Glasses: A Confession” describes a man who is more than a decade older than her and who went “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 alleges that her ex-boyfriend quickly exhibited controlling behavior that could be classified as emotional abuse. “Within 2 weeks, rules were quickly established,” she wrote. “Some of these included … 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.”
She then went on to allege that her ex-boyfriend regularly sexually assaulted her. “I was terrified to piss him off — so I did what he said …Including let him sexually assault me,” she claimed. “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. 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.”
After their breakup in 2014, Dykstra claims her ex-boyfriend “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.”
A representative for Hardwick did not respond to a request for comment. In addition, EW reached out to representatives for Hardwick’s AMC series, Talking With Chris Hardwick, which is scheduled to return Sunday with guest Donald Glover, but has not received a response.
Nerdist released a statement via the brand’s official Twitter account, in which Hardwick was not named.
Dykstra, for her part, made a statement on Twitter, commenting on the public reaction to her essay.
Hardwick’s Nerdist Podcast was renamed ID10T earlier this year, after it severed ties with Nerdist Industries.