A tearful Chris Hardwick returned to host Talking Dead last night.
“Normally, I recap the show we’re about to talk about here, but instead, I really just want to take a minute and say I’m so appreciative to be standing here right now. And I want to thank you, The Walking Dead community, for all of your support these last couple of months. This show is not just a job to me. This is a vital part of my life, and this has been a sanctuary these last seven years we’ve been here. This has been with me through good times and bad times, and I have so much gratitude to you, the fans, and the producers and the amazing casts of both of these shows for allowing me to come here and be a part of this community every week. This is what this is. This is a community. We’re on the precipice of a lot of changes on both Walking Dead shows in the coming weeks and months, and I am so looking forward to going on that journey with you. And I’ve said the following words a million times, countless times, and yet I have never been more thankful than I am in this very moment to say to you that I am Chris Hardwick and this is Talking Dead.”
As you can see, he didn’t mention what happened or why or who.
An ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra, posted a rather damning essay (without mentioning Hardwick by name, either) about him on Medium, alleging how poorly he treated her during their relationship, including allegations of assault (verbal, emotional and sexual).
AMC took Hardwick off the air, as did NBC (where he hosts The Wall game show), and he lost his plum Comic-Con hosting gigs this summer. Then AMC announced that it had cleared Hardwick after an internal investigation.
The investigation, though, wasn’t exactly complete. Dykstra didn’t participate in it. So much like a cop not showing up in court after issuing a ticket, or the main witness not showing up to trial, the investigation was one-sided. That the investigation was conducted by Loeb & Loeb, who happen to represent the Hearst Family Trust — aka the board managing the assets of Hardwick’s in-laws — doesn’t help appearances any.
Hardwick has remained Twitter silent since the accusations against him went public June 14.
Dykstra, for her part, wrote that she didn’t get involved in the AMC investigation because that wasn’t the point of her essay to begin with:
I originally wrote my essay so I could move on with my life, and now I intend to do so. Thank you, again, to those who have supported me during this. pic.twitter.com/sjBEKGpY7v
— Chloe Dykstra (@skydart) July 26, 2018
She added last week: “Hey dudes. Just a reminder: I 100% stand by every single word of my essay. I made sure it was unembellished, factual, and that I had evidence to back it up in order to protect myself in case of ACTUAL litigation (not a network investigation, where I’m not protected). That is all.”
Some workers on Talking Dead, including one of the executive producers, quit in protest of the decision to reinstate Hardwick.