Chris Hardwick is the latest “celebrity” to be accused of sexual misconduct, and it comes from his ex-wife, Chloe Dykstra, who wrote a very detailed post that has taken the internet by storm. If you’re unfamiliar with Hardwick, he started the popular website called Nerdist, and also talk shows like Talking Dead (The Walking Dead) that followed popular television shows on AMC.
Dykstra posted her story on Medium, which we will point out a few of the important details:
In my early twenties, I was a vibrant, goofy kid who loved video games, Doctor Who, dressing up in cosplay with my friends, and karaoke nights. One day, I met someone at a convention and ended up falling for a man almost 20 years my senior. It wasn’t the first time I’d found myself in a relationship with an older man; I’ve always joked about my daddy issues, and thought that with age came stability and wisdom. Welp.
And I made the choice to accept his controlling behavior, as he’d just left his long-term girlfriend and I assumed that he was going through some serious emotional discomfort. This was a huge mistake.
Our first convention together, San Diego Comic Con, he instructed me to not leave the hotel room. He went to parties by himself and got a famous actress’s number with intention to date her at the same time as me. I found out months later, and couldn’t bring myself to say anything because by this time, my self-worth was in the toilet.
I was quickly pressured to take an on-camera job at his company I didn’t want (I do not like to work for my significant others), because he insinuated I would be ungrateful to not accept it. Scared to upset him, I accepted the job, but I refused payment for my work, feeling uncomfortable about the whole thing (though the lovely folks at his company eventually forced me to take a check). By this time, like I said, I was terrified to piss him off- so 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.
How did this happen? At the beginning of our relationship, I was quite ill often due to my diet, something I’ll get to in a bit. One night he initiated, and I said, “I’m so sorry, can we not tonight? I’m feeling really sick.” He responded, “I just want to remind you, the reason my last relationship didn’t work out was because of the lack of sex.” It was a veiled threat. I succumbed.
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.
Later in the article, it says:
I watched and supported him as he grew from a mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company. He was obsessed with celebrity, being famous, famous people. He did not spend any time with people he considered “friends”, and only really made time for industry people who he considered “worth it”. I, myself, had very little personal support, as I’d been alienated from my own friends, other than an occasional party I was obligated to leave early when he decided it was time. Sometimes he’d let me go play D&D, but I always had a curfew. He would yell in his voicemails at me if I didn’t answer his calls. I was expected to follow him everywhere and exist pretty much solely for him, save for a hosting job once in awhile.
During all of this 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). I generally stopped speaking unless spoken to while with him, drifting through life like a ghost. I would try to sleep in as late as possible so my days were shorter. I stopped listening to music entirely. I ceased to be. I was an ex-person.
She closed by saying:
While we were together, he repeatedly shared with me that he was terrified I would talk publicly about how he treated me, but I’m done protecting him at the expense of my own mental health. He talked about me publicly, incorrectly speculating loudly and regularly that I was sleeping around on him, on multiple occasions (once in front of an audience of thousands at a convention). It got so bad I ended up having to ask my lawyer write his a letter. Meanwhile, publicly, I continually tried to go high while he went low. Also at the time, I knew it was unlikely people would choose to believe me over a cheery-sounding famous guy. All it would do to properly come forward was hurt me. And guess what? It will probably hurt me now too, despite the #MeToo movement. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a ways to go.
PS: To the man who tried to ruin my future: A sincere and heartfelt apology could have made my last four years a hell of a lot easier. The person I used to date would try to sue me due to pride- I would not recommend it. I have audio/video that will support and prove many of the things I’ve stated in this post. I’ve chosen not to include it for your sake, in the hopes that the person you’ve become will do the right thing.
It’s worth pointing out that the article doesn’t actually mention Hardwick by name, but everyone pretty much knew already. His former website, Nerdist, released the following statement:
Dykstra also had a few things to say on Twitter:
Hardwick is yet to make a statement, but quite a few folks on Twitter have:
If and when Hardwick makes a statement, we’ll be sure to let you know.