AMC suspends Chris Hardwick talk show after ex-girlfriend makes allegations of abuse
Posted June 16, 2018 5:49 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — TV host Chris Hardwick is facing career fallout amid allegations by his ex-girlfriend, actress Chloe Dykstra, that he sexually and emotionally abused her.
AMC said Saturday it has suspended his show, "Talking with Chris Hardwick," while it assesses the accusations against him. The cable network also said Hardwick will step aside from moderating AMC and BBC America panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month.
"We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years," the network said. "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 denied the allegations.
In an essay posted Thursday on Medium, Dykstra described her almost three-year relationship with an older celebrity who she said imposed strict rules on her behavior.
Dykstra, 29, wrote that he forbid her to have male friends, to speak in public or to go out at night without him -- and that she "let him sexually assault me" on multiple occasions. "Every night, I laid there for him, occasionally in tears," she wrote.
She didn't mention Hardwick, 46, by name, describing him as someone who "grew from a mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company." But because of the details in her post -- her boyfriend was almost 20 years older, they dated for three years, he was a recovering alcoholic -- readers had no trouble figuring out she was referring to Hardwick.
Dykstra said that after she left him for another man, her ex called companies she had worked for and threatened to not work with them unless they parted ways with her.
"He succeeded. I was blacklisted," she wrote.
In a statement, Hardwick said that his relationship with Dykstra was "not perfect -- we were ultimately not a good match" but denied ever sexually assaulting her.
"I'm devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur," he said. "l 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, who dated Dykstra from 2011 until July 2014, said he ended the relationship because she was unfaithful.
A former radio DJ and standup comedian, Hardwick got his big break in 1995 on the MTV dating show "Singled Out." Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy was his original co-host. In 2008, he founded Nerdist, where he launched a podcast about nerd culture. Three years later he became founder and chief creative officer of Nerdist Industries.
Hardwick has hosted several aftershows to popular AMC series, including "Talking Dead" (about "The Walking Dead"), "Talking Bad" (about "Breaking Bad") and "Talking Saul" (about "Better Call Saul").
A rep for Hardwick did not immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment on AMC's announcement.
A spokesman for Legendary Digital Networks, which owns Nerdist, said Hardwick is no longer involved with the company.
"Chris Hardwick had no operational involvement with Nerdist for the two years preceding the expiration of his contract in December 2017. He no longer has any affiliation with Legendary Digital Networks," the spokesman said. "The company has removed all reference to Mr. Hardwick even as the original founder of Nerdist pending further investigation."
In its own statement, Nerdist said it does not tolerate discrimination, harassment and other forms of abuse. Its employees were shocked at the contents of Dysktra's post, the company said.
Hardwick, who signed a three-year deal with AMC in July 2016 and is now married to actress Lydia Hearst, also hosts the NBC game show "The Wall."
In a statement, NBC said, "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."
On Friday, Dykstra tweeted: "I quietly posted an article ... unlisted on Medium. It clearly made the rounds. I'm overwhelmed and I want to thank all of you for your support and kind words -- they mean so much to me. I may take some time off the internet, please know your support means everything to me. "