Sunday night was supposed to herald another big moment for Chris Hardwick’s TV career with the premiere of Talking with Chris Hardwick and his big-get guest, Donald Glover.
But AMC pulled that episode, and the entire series, following allegations of sexual assault and abuse made by an ex-girlfriend of Hardwick’s online Friday.
“We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years,” the network said on Saturday. “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.”
BBC America had just announced on Thursday that Hardwick would moderate its Doctor Who panel; Hardwick also would’ve moderated the AMC Talking Dead panels; but after being a regular fixture on the main stages for most of the biggest Comic-Con panels in recent years, it appears he won’t be invited at all this July.
KAABOO Del Mar, the newish festival in San Diego in September, also pulled him from its 2018 lineup.
NBC, meanwhile, said it’d have to assess its relationship with Hardwick, who serves as an executive producer as well as the host of its game show, The Wall: “These allegations about Chris Hardwick took us by surprise as we have had a positive working relationship with him. However, we take allegations of misconduct very seriously. Production on The Wall does not begin until September, and in the meantime we are continuing to assess the situation and will take appropriate action based on the outcome.”
And Nerdist, the company and podcasting empire Hardwick created in 2010, before selling it to Legendary in 2012, has removed its founding father from its website entirely. With this explanation:
— Nerdist (@nerdist) June 15, 2018
Hardwick had told me when I interviewed him a year ago for my podcast, Last Things First, that in 2015 or 2016, “I realized I had my own voice, and Nerdist had its own voice, and I don’t want Nerdist to be responsible for things I say as I comedian, and things that I’m doing are not all Nerdist-related, and the things that Nerdist are doing are not all me-related. So I gave Nerdist all of the @Nerdist handles (on social media) and I took back @hardwick on everything.” He had created Fish Ladder in March 2017 as his own separate production company, and told me in June: “Nerdist is really the digital company, and I don’t own it anymore. Even though I still run it, technically. Fish Ladder is my thing.”
But back to the more important, serious allegations about abuse.
Chloe Dykstra, a major cosplayer and former co-host of a cosplaying YouTube series on the Nerdist channel, had written her own #MeToo story on Medium on June 14, titled “Rose-Colored Glasses: A Confession.” In it, Dykstra remembers meeting “a man almost 20 years my senior” at a convention when she was in her early 20s, who would emotionally and sexually abuse her for about three years before they broke up for good. She never named the man, but gave enough details about him — he was sober, had her take an “on-camera job at his company,” and “grew from a mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company.” She said when she finally left him, he allegedly blacklisted her.
That could only have been Hardwick, based on the timeline of history.
Hardwick remembered it differently, based on his initial statement, released not on his social media but to TMZ on Friday night.
“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.
When we were living together, I found out that Chloe 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. I 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.”
Hardwick when on to marry Lydia Hearst, with whom they are expecting their first child.
She’s the great-grandaughter of the infamous newspaper publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst (the impetus for Citizen Kane). She’s also the daughter of Patty Hearst, herself infamous for what happened after an American terrorist group kidnapped her in 1974, when she claimed the group raped and threatened her into cooperating with them in bank robberies and other crimes. Since pardoned, Patricia Hearst is now sticking up for her son-in-law, Hardwick.
— Patricia Hearst (@PatriciaHearst) June 15, 2018
Over the weekend, Patricia Hearst also posted memes on Twitter comparing the case against him to both #MeToo McCarthyism and to the “kangaroo court of social media.”
Hardwick has yet to update his own social media, or release a new episode of his podcast, ID10T, since Thursday. We’ll wait to see if he has more to say on the matter.