The #MeToo Movement Continues with a Revealing Essay From Chole Dykstra
Chris Hardwick is a household name when it comes to geek media. Love him or hate him, you probably know who he is. He founded Nerdist Industries in 2012 as a podcast that later rocketed him to CEO of his own company. He’s been the host of various Comic-Con panels, notably Doctor Who and The Walking Dead. As host of Talking (both Dead and Bad) on AMC, he discussed after-show details and theories. This included interviews with casts and fans of The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. He’s also the host of The Wall on NBC and previously @midnight until 2017. Now he’s being accused of sexual abuse by ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra.
“All the red flags just look like flags”
In an unlisted essay on Medium, Dykstra—co-host of Just Cos YouTube series, a cast member on SyFy’s Heroes of Cosplay, and game journalist—detailed a relationship in which she was “…restricted from going out, having male friends, or speaking in public places and was the victim of sexual assault…” She wrote, “…I lost myself, both mentally and physically. I lost 15 lbs within weeks, started pulling out my hair (and had to get extensions regularly to hide it) …drifting through life like a ghost…I ceased to be. I was an ex-person.”
Dykstra and Hardwick dated from 2011 to 2014, and while she doesn’t blatantly name him, there are obvious clues. She mentions a “mildly successful podcaster” who became “a powerhouse CEO of his own company.”
Hardwick tells a different story. A day after Dykstra’s confession was posted, Hardwick carefully crafted a response, writing, “When we were living together, I found out that Chloe had cheated on me, and I ended the relationship.” (Possibly in response to this detail in Dykstra’s essay: “…After three years of being snapped/yelled at constantly, very rarely being shown any affection- I finally left him. For another man. That I had literally just met. I was so desperate to be out I just clung on to the first knight in shining armor to show up.” Hardwick continues, “…I’m devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur. I was blindsided by her post and always wanted the best for her…”
Closure and a Warning
Hardwick and Dykstra present contrasting views of their relationship. What could have been “wanting the best for her” in Hardwick’s opinion was clearly a nightmare to Dykstra. I have read her essay about three times all the way through, and it’s harrowing. She realizes there is nothing publicly for her to gain from coming forward. There is, however, everything to gain for her own mental wellbeing. She states that her confession is both “closure” and “a warning,” as abusive relationships are easy to get into and extremely difficult to get out of.
Dykstra’s partner Robert Kazinsky—Pacific Rim, True Blood, Warcraft—is readily defending her on Twitter. On June 16 he wrote, “As [Hardwick] has chosen to deny Chloe’s account, I’ll take the opportunity to say I have seen the proof myself, I have seen the evidence first hand, I’ve seen the people who have come forward to tell [Dykstra] how Chris ordered her blacklisted, there isn’t just one, there are many.” He also tweeted, “For years the pain [Dykstra] carried around was overwhelming, and even now [Hardwick] doesn’t have the decency to offer first an apology to the woman he destroyed intentionally. That’s all that mattered.”
Please take the time to read this, it concerns the person I love most in the world, the bravest I know. Please learn from it and understand how easy it it to end up here. https://t.co/4Djt8D6OEE
— Robert Kazinsky (@RobertKazinsky) June 15, 2018
In her essay, Dykstra explains, “Because of my leaving him for someone else, he made calls to several companies I received regular work from to get me fired by threatening to never work with them. He succeeded…” Dykstra claims Hardwick turned a close friend against her. The friend worked with Hardwick to ruin any chance of a successful career for Dykstra. This found Dykstra “on top of an overpass, looking down at the 101, at the lowest point in my life.”
AMC and Comic-Con are still debating whether or not to drop Hardwick. Nerdist owner Legendary Entertainment has scrubbed all mention of him from the website. Hardwick’s wife, Lydia Hearst, has made no comment. But his mother-in-law, Patty Hearst, is passive-aggressively coming to his defense. She recently tweeted, “Beware the person who stabs you and then tells the world they’re the one who’s bleeding”. According to Vulture, “Hearst has previously praised the #MeToo movement’s empowerment of abuse victims…saying the movement was ‘where so much progress is being made in regard to listening, and providing a voice, to those who have suffered abuse.'” For a woman who publicly praised a movement for abuse victims, she certainly seems to be picking and choosing who she supports.