AMC has announced that Chris Hardwick will return to work following allegations of sexual assault made against him by an ex-girlfriend.
“Following a comprehensive assessment by AMC, working with Ivy Kagan Bierman of the firm Loeb & Loeb, who has considerable experience in this area, Chris Hardwick will return to AMC as the host of Talking Dead and Talking with Chris Hardwick,” the network said in a statement to Us Weekly on Wednesday, July 25. “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 announced on June 16 that it would be pulling Hardwick’s talk show after the Talking Dead host, 46, faced major backlash amid allegations made against him by his ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra. In an essay for Medium.com on June 14, the Spider-Man 2 actress — who dated the former Singled Out host from 2012 to 2014 — claimed that an ex-boyfriend had sexually assaulted and emotionally abused her throughout their relationship and then sought to get her blacklisted in Hollywood after their split. While she never identified Hardwick by name, many people pointed out several similarities between Hardwick and the person depicted in the essay. In addition to detailing several unsettling instances, Dykstra also shared a story in which, while recovering from surgery for an ectopic pregnancy, her then-boyfriend asked, “That’s great. When do you think I can have sex with her again?”
Following Dykstra’s essay, Nerdist Industries — a content company Hardwick founded — announced on June 15 that it had severed all ties with the former Web Soup host.
Hardwick broke his silence one day after Dykstra’s post was published online. In a statement to Us Weekly, the comedian wrote, “These are very serious allegations and not to be taken lightly, which is why I’ve taken the day to consider how to respond. I was heartbroken to read Chloe’s post. 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.”
Explaining that Dykstra had been unfaithful, causing him to end the relationship, Hardwick continued, “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.”
Hardwick’s wife, Lydia Hearst, later shared a message in defense of her spouse in a June 21 Instagram post. “I have made the decision to come out in support of my husband not out of obligation, but out of necessity to speak the truth about the person I know. Chris is nothing but loving and compassionate and is the only person who has stood by me, never judged me, helped me heal, and feel whole. To defend my husband would be giving credence to any of these accusations. I will not do that. Chris Hardwick is a good man,” she captioned a shot of the couple with their dog. “I remain in complete support of my husband, and I believe that the truth will always win.”