Nerdist co-founder and Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick was recently accused by his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra of sexual assault as well as blacklisting her from the entertainment industry.
Hardwick denied the claims of sexual assault telling Deadline:
“These are very serious allegations and not to be taken lightly which is why I’ve taken the day to consider how to respond. I was heartbroken to read Chloe’s post. 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.”
Hardwick goes on to say that Dykstra cheated on him and he decided to end the relationship.
“When we were living together, I found out that Chloe had cheated on me, and I ended the relationship. For several weeks after we broke up, she asked to get back together with me and even told me she wanted to have kids with me, ‘build a life’ with me and told me that I was ‘the one,’ but I did not want to be with someone who was unfaithful. “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.”
In fact, TMZ has acquired texts between Dykstra and Hardwick which indicate that Hardwick called her out for cheating on him with a man named Sam. Hardwick described it as “the worst thing anyone has ever done to me.” The texts go on to show that Dykstra begged Hardwick to keep communicating with her and she even stated, “I will always love you.”
Dykstra even reached out seven months later in attempt to make up with Hardwick.
Despite no evidence showing Hardwick did anything to Dykstra the companies he worked for and even venues he was expected to perform at decided to distance themselves from him and even cancel his appearances. AMC even replaced him on his upcoming talk show.
Nerdist, who Hardwick sold to Legendary Entertainment in 2012, quickly issued a statement:
“Chris Hardwick had no operational involvement with Nerdist for the two years preceding the expiration of his contract in December 2017,” a Legendary Entertainment spokeswoman told TheWrap via a statement on Friday. “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.”
Then AMC pulled “Talking With Chris Hardwick” from its schedule just a day before the second season premiere was set to air. They also announced that Hardwick would no longer be moderating panels for AMC and BBC America at San Diego Comic Con in July.
“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, and Chris has decided to step aside from moderating planned AMC and BBC America panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month.”
NBC also issued a statement regarding Hardwick. Hardwick has a deal with NBC for his gameshow called The Wall. It is expected to go into its third season this year. He also has a newly announced program called The Awesome Show that is in the works for the television station. who has a deal with Hardwick to run his primetime game show called The Wall for its third season as well as the newly announced The Awesome Show also announced a statement:
“These allegations about Chris Hardwick took us by surprise as we have had a positive working relationship with him. We are continuing to assess the situation and will take appropriate action based on the outcome.”
Hardwick was also pulled from the KAABOO Del Mar festival which is a three-day music and comedy festival outside San Diego at the Del Mar racetrack and fairgrounds.
The festival announced they had “made the decision to pull Chris Hardwick from the KAABOO Del Mar 2018 comedy lineup following detailed accusations of substantial abuse. KAABOO is an experience dedicated to providing a safe community and fostering an inclusive environment for all of our guests, performing artists and comedians, chefs, visual artists and team members. KAABOO does not condone, and will not tolerate, any type of abusive behavior or harassment.”
I want to be very clear here. Chris Hardwick has not been proven guilty of anything. He has been accused by an ex-girlfriend of sexual assault. He has not even been arrested and as of this writing there is no criminal investigation into Hardwick. In the United States of America, we still believe in innocent until proven guilty. And while current trends indicate a trial by the public, there isn’t any evidence besides Dykstra’s claims to indicate any wrongdoing by Hardwick. In fact, many of the networks and companies who have decided to drop his shows state they have had positive relationships with Hardwick.
We’ve seen a number of high profile cases in recent years where men are accused of sexual assault they didn’t commit. In the case of Brian Banks, a promising high school football player, he served five years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit.
Just this year a Texas woman accused a state trooper of sexual assault after she was pulled over and arrested for driving while intoxicated.
And most notably, the Duke lacrosse players in 2006 were falsely accused of rape. They were eventually exonerated, but the initial accusations led to the coach being fired and the entire 2006 season was canceled.
But there have been plenty of other instances over the past couple years. We saw one woman accuse Michael Douglas of sexual misbehavior, James Franco has been accused as well, and comics godfather Stan Lee has also been accused.
We spoke with Nick Rekieta of Rekieta Law about the situation:
“We’ve transgressed from the virtue of sincerely listening to alleged victims of sexual assault into the dangerous territory of listening and automatically believing.
Memory and perspective are malleable; a person’s lived experience should guide their future decisions, but those memories and experiences cannot be the sole basis for ostracizing and prosecuting another person.
There are, at a minimum, two sides to every story, and rarely is either of them true.”
We must be careful as a society not to jump to conclusions and make rash actions when an accusation like this surfaces. It should be investigated, and if wrongdoing is found, criminal charges should be pressed, and if found guilty they should be punished for their crimes. We should still hold innocent until proven guilty as the standard and must be wary of trial via the media.