Chris Hardwick’s tearful return to ‘Talking Dead’
Chris Hardwick returned to hosting “Talking Dead” following allegations from his ex-girlfriend, actress Chloe Dykstra, that he sexually and emotionally abused her.
AMC had suspended Hardwick’s show, “Talking with Chris Hardwick,” while it assessed the accusations against him. Five weeks later, the network cleared Hardwick to return.
“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 said in a statement to CNN in July.
Hardwick opened Sunday’s aftershow for “The Walking Dead” with an emotional speech.
“I want to thank you, ‘The Walking Dead’ community, for all your support over these past couple months,” he said. “This show is not just a job to me, this is a vital part of my life, this has been a sanctuary these last seven years we’ve been here.”
In June, Dykstra, 29, posted an essay on Medium in which she described an almost three-year relationship with an older celebrity who she said imposed strict rules on her behavior.
Without naming Hardwick, 46, she alleged that the man 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.
The actress described him as someone who “grew from a mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company.” She also said he blacklisted her in the industry.
Fans pieced together the details and quickly figured out that she was talking about Hardwick, which led to AMC suspending his show and temporarily replacing him on “Talking Dead” with actress Yvette Nicole Brown.
He was also dropped from San Diego Comic-Con panels and scrubbed from the Nerdist site he founded.
In a statement at the time, Hardwick, who dated Dykstra from 2011 to 2014, said their relationship was “not perfect — we were ultimately not a good match,” but he 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.”
Last month, Dykstra tweeted a statement in which she said she did not participate in the AMC investigation.
“I have been adamant since I came forward with my essay that I never set out to ruin the career of the person I spoke about,” she said in the statement. “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.”