Chris Hardwick to Return to AMC After Investigation
Posted July 25, 2018 8:34 p.m. EDT
Chris Hardwick will return to AMC next month as the host of “Talking Dead” and the second season of “Talking With Chris Hardwick,” according to a statement released by the network Wednesday. Hardwick had been accused of both physical and emotional sexual abuse by Chloe Dykstra, an actress and ex-girlfriend, in a post on Medium last month, over a three-year relationship.
“Following a comprehensive assessment by AMC, working with Ivy Kagan Bierman of the firm Loeb & Loeb, who has considerable experience in this area, Chris Hardwick will return to AMC as the host of ‘Talking Dead’ and ‘Talking with Chris Hardwick,'” an AMC spokesman said in a statement. “We take these matters very seriously and given the information available to us after a very careful review, including interviews with numerous individuals, we believe returning Chris to work is the appropriate step.”
AMC did not elaborate beyond its statement.
Dykstra, who did not respond to a request for comment, did not name Hardwick specifically in her Medium post but gave enough detail that many readers were able to deduce whom she was referring to. She wrote that Hardwick had decreed, among other things, that she “was to not have close male friends” unless they worked together and that she was not to speak in public. She also said Hardwick pressured her to have sex when she did not want to.
“During all of this I lost myself, both mentally and physically,” Dykstra wrote. “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.”
Hardwick denied that he had ever assaulted Dykstra and, in a statement after her post, said, “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.”
Reaction was swift after Dykstra’s post. Nerdist, a site Hardwick co-founded, erased all mention of Hardwick. Its parent company, Legendary Digital Networks, to whom Hardwick sold Nerdist, issued a statement saying Hardwick had “no operational involvement” with the company since two years before his contract expired in December 2017.
AMC shelved “Talking With Chris Hardwick,” which was supposed to have its season premiere in mid-June, and Hardwick also stepped down from moderating panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego. It is unclear when the show will officially premiere but a spokesman for AMC said Hardwick would return to “Talking Dead,” after the midseason premiere of “The Walking Dead,” now in its ninth season. “Talking Dead” is a popular companion show on which participants discuss what happened on the episode preceding it.
In the meantime, Yvette Nicole Brown will remain interim guest host for a preview special for the latter half of the season and will remain a guest when Hardwick returns.
Hardwick declined to comment Wednesday.