Sunday 18 August 2019

Chris Hardwick’s talkshow pulled after abuse allegations from ex-girlfriend

The Talking Dead host will also no longer moderate a BBC America panel at Comic-Con.

Chris Hardwick will also no longer appear at Comic-Con (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Chris Hardwick will also no longer appear at Comic-Con (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

By Andrew Arthur, Press Association Entertainment Reporter

US cable TV channel AMC has announced that presenter Chris Hardwick’s talkshow has been pulled from its schedule after his former partner alleged she was sexually assaulted.

Hardwick will also no longer make an appearance at Comic-Con in San Diego in July where he was due to moderate a panel with new Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker.

In a statement on Saturday AMC said: “We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years. We take the troubling allegations that surfaced yesterday very seriously.

“While we assess the situation, Talking With Chris Hardwick will not air on AMC, and Chris has decided to step aside from moderating planned AMC and BBC America panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month.”

Hardwick had previously told industry website Deadline he was “heartbroken” to read a post penned by his former partner Chloe Dykstra, in which she said she was abused by an ex-boyfriend.

In a statement to industry website Deadline, he 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.”

He added: “When we were living together, I found out that Chloe had cheated on me, and I ended the relationship.

“For several weeks after we broke up, she asked to get back together with me and even told me she wanted to have kids with me, ‘build a life’ with me and told me that I was ‘the one’, but I did not want to be with someone who was unfaithful.

“I’m devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur.

“I 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 is best known in the US for hosting the Walking Dead after-show The Talking Dead and is a regular fixture at San Diego Comic-Con.

Earlier this week, it was announced that he would moderate a panel with new Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker at the fan event next month.

Following AMC’s statement the BBC has been contacted for comment.

In an essay on the website Medium, Dykstra did not name her alleged abuser but said he was almost 20 years her senior and quickly began displaying “controlling behaviour” that included not letting her speak in public places, keeping her evenings free to spend with him and getting rid of close male friends.

She wrote: “I was terrified to piss him off, so I did what he said. Including let him sexually assault me. Regularly.

“I was expected to be ready for him when he came home from work.”

She added: “When cameras were on us? He was a prince. Turn them off, he was a nightmare.”

Nerdist, the website he founded, wiped all references of Hardwick in the wake of the allegations.

A statement on Twitter said: “Like you, we were shocked to read the news this morning.

“Nerdist prides itself on being an inclusive company made up of a positive, diverse community of people who come together to share and discuss the things we love.

“That type of behaviour is contrary to everything we stand for and believe in, and we absolutely don’t tolerate discrimination, harassment and other forms of abuse.”

Legendary Entertainment, which owns Nerdist Industries, added: “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 company has removed all reference to Mr Hardwick even as the original Founder of Nerdist pending further investigation.”

Dykstra wrote on Twitter that she would be taking time off from the internet, adding: “Before I take my break, I do want to address something re: the company he founded.

“As I understand it, the person has not been associated with that company for several years, and I hope that they will not suffer as a result of my essay. Be kind to them, they are good people.”

A representative for Hardwick has been contacted for comment.

PA Media

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