On Thursday, June 14th, actress and cosplayer Chloe Dykstra published a powerful personal essay in Medium that delved into her experience with a past abusive relationship. Dykstra, who didn’t name any names, said the man in question was about 20 years older than she was, and described him as someone who started out as “a mildly successful podcaster” who eventually became “a powerhouse CEO of his own company.”
And again, while Dykstra, 29, never revealed an identity, Twitter was quick to suspect her former boyfriend, podcaster (and now CEO) Chris Hardwick. Hardwick, 46, is perhaps best known for hosting the interview podcast The Nerdist, and in recent years created Nerdist Industries, which includes podcasts about popular TV shows and a YouTube station devoted to a variety of pop culture topics.
Before beginning her story, the TV personality made it clear she wasn’t writing the essay to point fingers. “I want this to be two things. Number One: Closure. I’m approaching my thirties, finding stability, and quite simply, I want this out of me. But more importantly, Number Two: A warning. Emotional abuse is a very common thing. More common than you’d think,” she wrote (emphasis her own).
Dykstra went on to note that the man knocked down her confidence daily, forbid her to have male friends or drink, and expected her to be “waiting” for him when he came home each night, often forcing her to have sex with him even when she told him she didn’t want to (and sometimes while she was in tears).
She noted that the relationship lasted three years (during which she was also coping with an eating disorder), and when it ended, her “self-worth was in the toilet.”
Many on Twitter feel certain she’s provided enough information for fans to connect the dots to Hardwick, who’s currently married to Lydia Hearst (daughter of Patty Hearst). Several of Hardwick’s employees have even already parted ways with the company in the wake of the essay.
Dykstra posted the following on Twitter today, June 15th, in response to the outpouring of support:
Meanwhile, Legendary Digital Networks, which technically owns Nerdist, released the following statement today, June 15th:
We stand with Dykstra — and all who come forward with their experiences of abuse — and applaud her for speaking her truth. We’re certain it will help so many others recognize the power of their voice and, if they so choose, to seek the justice they deserve.