Chris Hardwick is under fire today after his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra accused the comedian of long-term, emotional abuse while they were still together. Dykstra highlighted a list of “rules” that Hardwick allegedly put in place for the actress when their budding relationship was just starting, as well as accusing him of sexually assaulting her several times.
In the open letter, Dykstra writes that she “lost myself, both mentally and physically” while still dating Hardwick, claiming that she lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time and started pulling her hair out. Hardwick, who is a well-known American comedian, actor and television host, has yet to comment on Dykstra’s accusations.
Here’s what you need to know about Hardwick and Dykstra’s accusations against him:
1. Hardwick Allegedly Forced Dykstra to Follow a Strict Set of Rules, Including Forcing Her to Remove All Pictures of Male Friends From Her House & Giving Her a Curfew
Dykstra is an American actress, cosplayer, and model that produces and co-hosts a web series Just Cos for the Nerdist Industries’ YouTube channel and is a cast member of the SyFy show Heroes of Cosplay.
Dykstra and Hardwick dated for several years, during which the alleged abuse began. Among some of the rules that Hardwick supposedly laid out for Dykstra included: not allowing her to “go somewhere at night,” she wasn’t allowed to have male friends, drink alcohol or speak in public places such as elevators, cars with drivers or restaurants.
Hardwick allegedly made her remove all pictures of other men and male friends from her apartment, was strictly against her taking photos of the two of them together, and alienated her from her friends.
2. Dykstra Accuses Hardwick of Sexual Assault, Claiming He “Expected” Sex From Dykstra Regularly
Dykstra also accused Hardwick of sexually assaulting her several times. In her open-letter posted on Medium, she highlights how his controlling actions spread to the bedroom, where he “expected” sex from Dykstra regularly.
“By this time, like I said, I was terrified to piss him off- so I did what he said, including let [sic] him sexually assault me. Regularly. I was expected to be ready for him when he came home from work.”
Dykstra tells a story about Hardwick allegedly initiating sex, but she was ill and not really in the mood. She claimed he threatened her, stating “the reason my last relationship didn’t work out was because of the lack of sex.”
“Every night, I laid there for him, occasionally in tears,” Dykstra wrote. 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.”
3. Due to Hardwick’s Alleged Abuse, Dykstra Became Physically Ill, Losing Her Hair and a Lot of Weight, Before Trying to Commit Suicide
As Hardwick grew more successful, Dykstra claimed he became “obsessed” with power and wanting to be famous, so he started to cut off his own friends and family and “only made time for industry people who he considered ‘worth it.'”
Dykstra says she watched Hardwick go from a mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company. Shortly after his rise to fame, she claims that Hardwick “expected [Dykstra] to follow him everywhere and exist pretty much solely for him.” His curfew’s got stricter, he would should at her when she didn’t answer her phone, and he continued to alienate her further from her loved ones, according to her letter.
“When cameras were on us? He was a prince. Turn them off, he was a nightmare,” she stated in her letter on Medium.
During this time, Dykstra claims that she started losing significant amounts of weight and became suicidal. Hardwick apparently tried to have her blacklisted from the entertainment industry after she briefly left him for another man, allegedly calling companies that she regularly worked through and threatening to never work for them again.
“One night, I found myself on top of an overpass, looking down at the 101, at the lowest point in my life. I’d lost many of my friends, the woman I’d considered my sister was trying to destroy me and I had no idea why, and the career I’d built from scratch had toppled- I was blacklisted from my industry at the age of 25.”
You can read the entire letter here.
4. Hardwick is the Founder of the Nerdist, a Hugely Popular Entertainment Website that Celebrates “All Things Nerd-Related”
According to his biography on AMC, Hardwick is a “professional stand-up comedian and self-proclaimed nerd,” who writes for Wired Magazine and hosts a live show on AMC’s network called Talking Dead, which airs as a platform to discuss the network’s highly rated shows The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.
Hardwick is the founder of Nerdist, a website and podcast devoted to all things nerd-related. Hardwick eventually merged Nerdist with GeekChicDaily and formed Nerdist Industries, serving as Founder and Chief Creative Officer. He and his Chief Executive Officer Peter Levin run Nerdist.com, a Nerdist YouTube channel, the Nerdist News daily e-newsletters, and have more than 1.7 million Twitter fans, as well as the hugely popular Nerdist Podcast.
“Hardwick and Levin serve as Co-Presidents of Digital for Legendary, in dual roles with their Nerdist positions,” AMC states. “Nerdist Industries is headquartered at its theater space at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, CA. Chris was featured in a one hour stand-up special Chris Hardwick: Mandroid on Comedy Central in November 2012.”
Hardwick once wrote an article for Wired, titled “Self Help for Nerds.” In the article he highlights just how explosive the nerd scene had become, compared to decades ago (before the age of the internet) when nerds and geeks stayed hidden in the shadows to avoid being ridiculed by their peers. He tells readers that he was a chess champion in 1983 and played chess from the fifth grade all the way through high school.
Hardwick has yet to respond to Dykstra’s allegations against him.
5. Hardwick Used to “Consume a Baby Elephant’s Weight in Alcohol Every Day” & Has Been Sober Since 2003, Claiming it was the Best Decision of His Life
Hardwick was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1971. Best known as the host of Comedy Central’s Emmy Award-winning nightly comedy game show @midnight, Hardwick claims he was highly influenced by actress and comedian Joan Rivers, who he also considers his mentor.
According to IMDB, “Hardwick met Joan Rivers, where he and his family went to see her do an opening act for Rivers’s own mentor Johnny Carson, in Las Vegas, Nevada, when Hardwick was just a little boy. They were friends for 39 years.”
Hardwick quick drinking in 2003, claiming he was “consuming a baby elephant’s weight in alcohol every day.” He told Wired that he started to spiral downhill after a gig on MTV’s “Singled Out” in 1995. After he left the show, he started drinking heavily, ruined his credit and lived in a crappy apartment near UCLA, where he used to attend classes.
“What followed [Singled Out] were several years of laziness, drinking, and f–k-ups on my part. This “woo-hoo par-tay” attitude piloted my brain through my twenties as I tried desperately to ditch the scared, wienerly nerd I had always been to fit in with the “cool kids,” whoever those oft-referred-to assholes are.”
“I had become what I’d always dreaded being-the fat, drunk guy who used to be on television,” he told Wired.
Hardwick says that quitting drinking was “ultiminately, the best decision” he’s ever made in his life. He lost 20 pounds, started receiving compliments, and became highly motivated to turn his life around once he quit. “Years later, and through much therapy, I would come to discover all of the really bad things alcohol caused, like anxiety, paranoia and perpetual emotional infancy.”
Hardwick is the son of professional bowler Billy Hardwick, and Sharon Hills (née Facente), a real estate agent in Pasadena, California. His grandmother was an Italian American who opened a bowling alley, which is where his parents first met.