The Wrap: Chris Hardwick’s colleagues were not surprised by the abuse allegations


Last Friday, Chloe Dykstra published a heartbreaking essay on Medium about how she was in an emotionally abusive relationship for several years when she was in her early 20s. She didn’t name Chris Hardwick, but literally everyone knew she was describing her relationship with Hardwick. Hardwick ended up issuing a very terrible statement about Chloe’s essay, where he basically called her a crazy fantasist who cheated on him, and that he was “heartbroken” as a “future father.” Many of Hardwick’s employers have hit pause on his various gigs or outright replaced him, and for the most part, it just feels like… no one is really surprised, and no one is really out here doing the most to defend Hardwick. That didn’t stop Hardwick from giving TMZ some old texts that Chloe sent him after they broke up, because never forget that TMZ is where abusers go to get a “fair shake.” TMZ’s story isn’t even worth the energy so I’m not even going to give it any more space.

Meanwhile, The Wrap did a follow-up on how Hardwick’s current and former coworkers felt about Chloe’s essay. This piece was a good read because we’re so conditioned to read the inevitable “but he’s such a nice guy TO ME, therefore he could never be a bastard to anyone else” stories. The Wrap spoke to a wide assortment of people who knew Hardwick and worked with him, and the general feeling across the board is… yeah, Chloe Dykstra’s essay sounded familiar. You can read The Wrap’s piece here. Some highlights:

People who know Hardwick believe Dykstra’s claims of his controlling behavior, emotional manipulation and sexual abuse. One former Nerdist employee says: “Nobody’s surprised. Everyone can think back to incidents with Chris that line up with something in that story. You don’t see anybody saying ‘That’s not the Chris Hardwick I know,’ because that is the Chris Hardwick most people know.”

One producer said: “She’s not writing about a complete stranger there, I could recognize him through the details. He’s an alcoholic who replaced his alcoholism with workaholism, and that may have led to just as bad a side effect for people. He wasn’t going out and getting drunk and insulting people, but he was concentrating on the work and building up his empire, not concentrating on how that affected people.”

Another acquaintance says: “I have no reason to think he would be violent, but everything else she says, the way she describes his behavior, sounds like things about him that I absolutely do know to be true. It absolutely rings true.”

How Hardwick behaved when he was with Nerdist: “He was an absentee landlord,” said the former Nerdist employee, who described Hardwick as increasingly focused on outside projects like AMC’s “Talking Dead” or other high-profile hosting gigs. “He wasn’t around except to call in to beat up on us. But he made sure our successes always got painted as his work.” But when Hardwick was around, he would sometimes explode at staff when they made decisions he believed to be inconsistent with his public-facing brand, insiders said.

[From The Wrap]

Yikes. But it’s consistent with a lot of the tweets I’ve seen in the past week from people who know Hardwick or Chloe or both – that Chloe’s portrait of an emotionally abusive a–hole was accurate, that she should be believed, and that Hardwick has no business being the face of anything. Enough.

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41 Responses to “The Wrap: Chris Hardwick’s colleagues were not surprised by the abuse allegations”

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  1. Shelley says:

    Patty Hearst defended him on Twitter..but it had the smell of desperation . I guess mothers don’t want to know their kids married a creep.

  2. Hollygo says:

    I thought this guy just was a nobody that hosted Talking Dead. empire? I must be missing something,

    • twocatsngirl says:

      I never heard of him before this. He has the look of a little sh1t, though. How do these guys get their foot in the door?

    • HelloSunshine says:

      He helped bring “being a nerd” into the mainstream and cool. He shined a light on people who like video games, “nerdy” movies and activities and gave them the opportunity to be who they are.

      Well, he says he did but it certainly doesn’t surprise me to read that he took credit for other people’s work and made it sound like his own. Never realized how awful this guy is but I’m grateful that Chloe was able to get her story out and the “nice guy” facade is quickly falling away.

    • Cberry says:

      He’s actually very successful. He’s kind of like the Comic-Con version of Ryan Seacrest. Of course he’s not as big or recognizable world wide, but among Comic-Con and Marvel fans he is. It’s gotten him some higher profile TV host jobs like Talking Dead on AMC and a game show host on one of the major three networks.

  3. Hazel says:

    I don’t really know him (he’s not big in the UK), but trying to look at him objectively. He’s short and average looking, why is he getting these beautiful women? We all know it’s not his charming personality.

  4. Bridget says:

    Nerdist scrubbed him from the site immediately, which was notable because (while he sold the business) it was his personal brand. They had to have known that he was a total a-hole.

  5. Aimee says:

    I have known of this guy for YEARS (he was on an old game tech show with Olivia Munn) and although I was at first surprise I totally believe Chloe and am sick of the crap some men are saying about how one women’s bad relationship shouldn’t ruin a guys career. F that! They don’t seem to have a problem if HER career or life was ruined. He probably isn’t doing this to Lydia because she has the power ($$) in that relationship.

    • Lala says:

      DING…DING…DING!!! You hit the nail…SQUARE on the head! There is NO WAY he’s going to do THAT to William Randolph Hearst’s great grand daughter!!!!

    • K says:

      “… am sick of the crap some men are saying about how one women’s bad relationship shouldn’t ruin a guys career”

      Armie Hammer once said something similar to this about Nate Parker and I’ve really disliked him ever since, regardless of how cute he may look in a suit. I just can believe how some men can think like this. It’s just incomprehensible.

      • PPP says:

        Hammer is entitled trash, but what he said was the allegations were leaked on purpose in order to hurt Birth of a Nation’s chances during awards season– I think it was the Manchester by the Sea team. And that while the accusations against Parker tanked his career immediately, the allegations against Affleck and other white guys were treated in a benefit-of-the-doubt way. Since he’s blind and privileged, I think the takeaway that he implicated is we should go lighter on Parker. However, there is something there– that no one actually cares about rape and abuse allegations, that people use them strategically instead. Also, that if you don’t have a team behind you like Matt and Ben, allegations are more likely to topple your career, and that race may have played a role in how fast and completely Parker’s career was over. Of course, Chris Brown and R. Kelley are the obvious counterexamples. However, the music industry seems even more toxic than Hollywood– just look at everything Kesha has been through.

      • K says:

        Hammer could have used his own career (from under-performing flopstar to celebrated art-house artiste) as an example of the many chances white men are given over MOC rather than saying Parker “had one incident — which was heinous and atrocious… but his entire life is affected in the worst possible way”. Which is pretty much the same sentiment that Aimee conveyed above. His heart may have been in the right place, perhaps, but his foot was firmly wedged in his mouth while he was gerrymandering his own award prospects. Victim blaming is still victim blaming even when it is clumsily well-intentioned.

      • Bridget says:

        Hammer compared Parker’s “one incident” (sigh) to Affleck’s three, and the massive disparity in how they were treated. As for the rest? It’s inference. I’d like to hope that Hammer realizes that the rape and eventual suicide of that young lady was a goddamn big deal and just spoke un-artfully.

    • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

      The thing I say to people who claim that “one woman’s claims shouldn’t ruin him” is that it’s quite clearly it wasn’t just one woman’s experience with him. I recognise this. It’s a “that was the last straw” HR response. They knew he was problematic. The stories coming out on Twitter about him from coworkers confirm his emotional abusiveness and other troublesome qualities. It’s very unlikely they didn’t have a file on him already.

  6. tealily says:

    I made the mistake of looking through some posts on Twitter about this, and his diehard fanbase is really making me sick. I know this one caught a lot of people off guard, but you’d think more folks would be reevaluating at this point. To be fair, though, many people do seem to be.

    I watched @midnight and I liked it, but in every other context I can’t stand this guy. He’s a prime example of someone who (for the most part) says all the right things, but he could still never shake that arrogant, douche vibe. I always assumed he was a decent person, but he just wasn’t someone I’d want to hang out with, you know? I didn’t find the accusations shocking, and I don’t even know him.

  7. S says:

    Every single thing Hardwick has done or said since this came out has only further convinced me that every word Dykstra wrote is true.

  8. Sparkly says:

    I liked him well enough and didn’t want to believe it, but I read his statement before I even read her article and thought, ‘Oh no, it’s true?’ As I told my husband, it was like douche-bro bingo. Her story rang true and no one in his life is surprised. I didn’t think it was possible to look even worse, but sharing those texts absolutely does.

  9. Rebecca says:

    I’ve watched Talking Dead many times and his late night trivia game show a few times. He really seemed like he was the nicest most personable guy in the world. Seriously, he’s so good at faking being good. He should’ve been an actor, not a host.

    • dj says:

      Totally agree Rebecca! He should have been an actor. When I think it through though abusers ARE actors because they are so good at hiding their abusive sides to outsiders (i.e., other ppl). I am so disappointed at this because he did seem funny and self-deprecating…had me fooled. Another douche abuser. Hollywood seems to be full of them. Does anyone know if anyone from the Walking Dead cast has come out and commented on this?

  10. Dotgirl says:

    I’ve met him and actually worked on a couple things with him – I 100% believe her, and am 0% surprised. Honestly, I’m waiting for his other ex-gf’s to come out (he was awful to Janet Varney too).

    • tealily says:

      I really hope they do. It know it’s private and they don’t owe us anything, but it’s killing me to see the way Chloe’s being put through the ringer on this. If I see one more comment that “everyone knew she was crazy,” I’m going to puke. I don’t wish that kind of abuse on anyone else, but maybe it would shut some people up to see that, no, in fact she’s not crazy. This guy’s just a real a**hole. Although I’m sure these Twitter scavengers will just do some other kind of mental gymnastics to explain this away…

    • Bridget says:

      Isn’t Janet Varney still at Nerdist? She at least seems to have figured out a way to continue dealing with him.

  11. Cayy says:

    Couple things that may be relevant.

    1) These “nerd fanboys” supporting him are the same ones who are ruining things like “Star Wars” with their racist, misogynistic comments on social media. This is his crew and they follow the lead of the ultimate “nerd,” as he has made himself out to be.

    2) He was on several talk shows recently to promote his new show. I know talk show hosts just chat with the people the publicists have recruited to be on their shows. However, Dax Shepard had him on his podcast and calls him his “friend” on the show’s Twitter feed. I won’t listen to the podcast because I can’t stand Dax Shepard, but at some point Shepard has to account for having this “friend” on the show. Also, Jenny McCarthy recently posted photos of Hardwick and her. She, too, needs to be accountable for what she knows. If the pictures and posts illustrate Shepard’s and McCarthy’s support of him, why don’t they just come out with it and say they don’t believe Dykstra?

    • tealily says:

      Did those things happen before or after Dykstra’s essay came out though? If before, it seems like a stretch to hold them up as evidence of support. A lot of people took photos with him and interviewed him who I’m sure are appalled by what’s come out.

      I’m no fan of McCarthy and I’m pretty neutral on Shepard, but until they directly come out in support of Hardwick, I’m not going to hate on them. It’s their right to not make a statement and unnecessarily involve themselves in the quagmire.

    • tealily says:

      Also, to your first point, Hardwick wasn’t one of those fanboys who tore apart Star Wars, etc. He skewered comments like that, which is what makes this all so insidious.

      • Cberry says:

        This is why Hardwick is successful. His public personality is very enthusiastic without going negative and taking sides. He knows his “likeable guy” image really works best and that he can be that while still handling hoards of obsessed fanboys is impressive especially to TV network producers/execs.

    • lucy2 says:

      Well I just looked at Dax’s twitter, and Hardwick was there on April 30th so over a month before Chloe made this public.
      I’m getting the impression that Hardwick was all fun and nice to those he felt could help him, and awful to those below him, so I’m not a bit surprised if he was great and friendly to someone like Dax. Abusers are good at hiding, and I don’t think anyone else needs to be held accountable for his behavior other than Hardwick himself.
      Also, Dax seems to promote almost every person on there as his “friend”, and it’s common with many podcasters, so I don’t think they are BFFs or anything. Same with Jenny.

  12. Natalia says:

    What kind of a dumb-ass photo is this (2nd one)?! And the 1st thing I saw was that eyebrow on her. Cool strapless though.

  13. Jess says:

    Welcome to new America where you are guilty until proven innocent ! The media is the judge and jury.

  14. Jayne Birkinb says:

    Reading the former crew comments; Hardwick seems to have the “Kiss up, kick down” tendency that is a problem for military officers (see Admiral Ronny Jackson, Trump’s doctor and first pick for VEterans Affairs Secretary). Abusers rarely abuse in public. Even if none of the other abuse had happened, the hospital comment was enough. She should have shitcanned him then and there.