Chris Hardwick scandal: TV host/comedian loses shows after being accused of sexual assault

June 18, 2018

by Colleen McGregor

Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

TV host/comedian Chris Hardwick, 47, has lost several of his shows and has had appearances cancelled after his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra accused him of sexually abusing her during their relationship, which lasted from 2011 to 2014. In an essay posted on Medium on June 14, 2018, Dykstra (who is 29) claimed that an unnamed ex-boyfriend forced her to have sex with him many times, and he was verbally abusive and controlling throughout their relationship. Dykstra (who is an actress and model) also claimed that after she and the ex-boyfriend broke up, he had her blacklisted from several companies in the entertainment industry. Although Hardwick was not named in the essay, the descriptions and timelines described in the essay make it clear that it is him. Dykstra (who is the daughter of Oscar-winning visual artist John Dykstra) also claims that she has audio and video to back up many of her claims.

Hardwick has denied the sexual assault allegations. He has been married to heiress Lydia Hearst since 2016. He issued this statement about Dykstra: “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. 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.”

Hardwick may not be a household name, but for more than 10 years, he has been a big star in the world of nerd culture, and he was a rising media star on a career path similar to Ryan Seacrest, who hosts several shows on multiple networks and platforms. Hardwick was the founder of Nerdist Industries, which he launched in February 2012, and sold to Legendary Entertainment in July 2012. Hardwick was CEO of Nerdist until his contract expired at the end of 2017. In the wake of the allegations, Nerdist has removed Hardwick’s name from its website and has disavowed the company’s previous association with him.

To sci-fi/comic-book fans, Hardwick was best known as the host of several talk shows on AMC, such as “Talking Dead” (an after-show for “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead”), “Talking Preacher” (an after-show for “Preacher”) and “Talking With Chris Hardwick.”

AMC issued this statement: “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.”

Hardwick has also been a moderator at numerous high-profile panels and events at Comic-Con International in San Diego and other similar events. His appearances at this year’s Comic-Con International have been cancelled. He is also a stand-up comedian. His appearance at the 2018 San Diego Music-Comedy Festival has also been cancelled.

At NBC, Hardwick has hosted the game show “The Wall” since 2016. Hardwick also hosted NBC’s “The Red Nose Day Special” in 2017 and 2018. In a statement, NBC says it is reviewing Dykstra’s allegations and is “continuing to assess the situation and will take appropriate action based on the outcome.”

Prior to hosting “The Wall,” Hardwick hosted the Comedy Central game show “@ Midnight With Chris Hardwick” from 2013 to 2017. The show won two Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (in 2015 and 2016) for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media Social TV Experience.

Hardwick first became known to national TV audiences as the host of MTV’s dating show “Singled Out,” which was on the air from 1995 to 1998.

July 25, 2018 UPDATE: AMC has ended Hardwick’s suspension and given him back his hosting duties after the network concluded its investigation into Dystra’s allegations. Click here for more details.