The first time I ever heard of Chris Hardwick was the MTV dating show Singled Out.
Frankly, I found him to be an obnoxious douche. After the show ended I completely forgot about him until 2012. That was the beginning of the Nerdist Industries Empire. I found out the guy was into all the geeky stuff I was…and I was a bit surprised. It turned out he really spiraled after Singled Out ended and then he finally sobered up and focused on making something better of his life. And he seemed to be a guy getting to do what he loved. I found Chris to be inspirational.
He took to podcasting, then started a company that allowed others to be a part of sharing their geeky passions. I enjoyed his various talks shows and so on. Chris Hardwick seemed like a nice and sweet guy. Yeah, he had times where he could be problematic…but everyone is guilty of that. And he seemed to work to learn and become better. And he seemed continuously cheerful and exited to share his geeky passions with the rest of us. And that seemed to be something that extended into his personal relationships. He had these fun pictures of he and his girlfriend. She was hosting shows for Nerdist.
I kind of hoped I might manage to eventually emulate that success. Admittedly, I was a little surprised when I saw him announce his engagement and discovered he was not marrying Chloe Dykstra. I had no idea they had broken up and suddenly he was getting married? Oh well. His Instagram showed a fun honeymoon in Japan. He was hosting after shows on AMC for more than one of AMC’s hit shows. Everybody seemed to love Chris. Everyone.
And then this morning I saw this tweet:
I checked Chloe’s twitter feed and found:
So..I searched around until I found her post.
It is a rough and heartbreaking read. I was aware of Dykstra through he role both as Hardwick’s girlfriend and a host for Nerdist (which made me aware of her as a cosplayer).
Dykstra tells of a Hardwick nothing like his public image. A man who controlled her with absurd rules and restrictions that cut her off from friends. Who routinely yelled at her and berated her. And who raped her on multiple occasions. And who, when they broke up? Went on a campaign to destroy her ability to get work. Who publicly shamed her with accusations of sleeping around.
Chloe never names Hardwick…but it took about three seconds. As I read it, I just kept repeating “oh Fuck” (sorry, Mom) over and over. I was stunned.
Nerdist Industries responded quickly by removing connecting info regarding Hardwick, providing information for help for people in abusive relationships and pointing out that Hardwick sold Nerdist two years ago and was not in a leadership position for that time up through the expiration of his contract in 2017.
And hey, don’t crap over Nerdist writers. Heck, some of them have popped up to back Dykstra up.
Of course, the usual chorus of people demanding due process and complaining about Twitter Mob mentality. I have seen people suggest that the abuse she writes about is just “regular relationship expectations”.
Dykstra noted in her posting that she has video and audio to back her up. And frankly, it supports her that she remained quiet while Hardwick trashed her. And she leaving the door open to restoration.
Of course, I am tired of people crying about the careers of terrible people being destroyed. Listen, I am not saying people cannot change. That they cannot become better. Dykstra leaves open the idea that Chris could be changed. But restoration of a person does not mean they get to keep their career. The same people that will tell me that people are not owed money or free healthcare seem to suddenly behave like people in entertainment are owed the right to keep their jobs no matter what. Maybe the best rehabilitation for Hardwick may just be not being on TV. His addiction of choice appears to be celebrity…and maybe he ought to sober up.
Chloe is about to take a Social Media break but left this final tweet: