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Nerdist Distances Itself From Founder Chris Hardwick Amid Abuse Allegations

Nerdist, the podcast network and production company founded by comedian/geek culture enthusiast Chris Hardwick has scrubbed mention of Hardwick from its website following abuse allegations levied by Hardwick’s ex-girlfriend, actress Chloe Dykstra. Prior to Hardwick being erased from the site, he was listed as “founder, CEO, and creative head of Nerdist Industries, a media empire under the Legendary Digital Network that encompasses the Nerdist.com website, YouTube channel, and Hardwick’s incredibly successful Nerdist Podcast, which he continues to host and garners over 6.9M downloads per month.”

Legendary Entertainment, the production company that bought Nerdist from Hardwick, issued a statement after a Medium essay Dykstra wrote accusing an unnamed ex-boyfriend of alleged emotional and sexual abuse and career sabotage following their breakup posted on Thursday night. From The Hollywood Reporter:

“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,” a Legendary spokesperson said in statement on Friday.

Although Dykstra didn’t explicitly name Hardwick in her post, she included enough details, including mention of the age difference (Dykstra is now 29 and Hardwick 46), time-frame of the relationship, her ex-partner’s sobriety, the circumstances under which they met, and the fact that he parlayed a successful podcast into a media empire, to lead readers to assume she was talking about the Talking Dead host.

In addition to allegedly imposing strict rules on her, including forbidding her from having male friends, and forbidding her from speaking in public places in his presence for fear of being eavesdropped upon, Dykstra claimed that her ex regularly coerced her into sex. From Medium:

By this time, like I said, 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.
How did this happen? At the beginning of our relationship, I was quite ill often due to my diet, something I’ll get to in a bit. One night he initiated, and I said, “I’m so sorry, can we not tonight? I’m feeling really sick.” He responded, “I just want to remind you, the reason my last relationship didn’t work out was because of the lack of sex.” It was a veiled threat. I succumbed.
Every night, I laid there for him, occasionally in tears. He called it “starfishing”. He thought the whole idea was funny. To be fair, I did go along with it out of fear of losing him. I’m still recovering from being sexually used (not in a super fun way) for three years.

Dykstra also wrote that her ex actively tried to sabotage her career after she broke up with him.

“Because of my leaving him for someone else, he made calls to several companies I received regular work from to get me fired by threatening to never work with them,” Dykstra wrote. “He succeeded. I was blacklisted.”

On Friday morning, Dykstra tweeted thanks for the supported she received after her post went live.

Spin has reached out to Hardwick’s reps for comment and we’ll update if we hear back.