Actress, model, and cosplayer Chloe Dykstra is the latest woman in the entertainment industry to add her voice to the #MeToo movement -- via a disturbing and revealing essay in which she details emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of an ex-boyfriend.
Dykstra does not name the alleged culprit, although between a wealth of potential identifying details and her own very public life in recent years, fans and the press sites are speculating that the accusations are being made against Nerdist originator Chris Hardwick.
Dykstra dated Hardwick from 2012 until 2014, and her description of the ex in question as someone who "grew from a mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company" is pretty on-the-nose, for a speculative starting place. The timing also lines up, since Dykstra (now 29 years old) describes the relationship beginning when she was in her early twenties, and later describes a period after the breakup as being "blacklisted from my industry at age 25."
The piece details a relationship where Dykstra's ex set out detailed "rules," to which she agreed against her better judgment, and then became regularly and easily enraged. She describes regular sexual abuse, as she would be pressured into sex against her will and would eventually accede to his demands out of fear of upsetting him or losing him.
Describing eating and sleeping disorders as well as self-harm during this period, Dykstra wrote, "I ceased to be. I was an ex-person."
Eventually, she said, she left him for another man, desperate to get out of the situation and "[clinging] on to the first knight in shining armor to show up." She claims that her ex retaliated by telling industry members that she had cheated on him which, effectively, lead to her getting being blacklisted because he told decision makers that he would not work with anyone who hired her.
"With the assistance of a woman who’d gained my trust and my heart over the past year, he steamrolled my career," Dykstra wrote. "The woman actively made it her mission to destroy my friendships. And she did, because by the time they’d realized she was an unreliable source the damage had already been done."
Publicly at least, Hardwick and Dykstra's breakup seemed amicable enough. Both of them tweeted fairly innocuous things, and there was no immediate passive-aggression to catch the public attention.
On the other hand, Dykstra claimed in her piece that her "nightmare" ex was a "prince" whenever the cameras were on and people were watching them together.
Dykstra wrote that she considered suicide repeatedly in the time that followed her breakup with the abusive ex, and that while she has now got her life back on the right path, she wrote the essay in the hope of finding closure.
In the time since Dykstra's story went live Friday morning, Hardwick has been removed from the Nerdist website "About Page." He recently left the company, so that may be -- or at least be outwardly depicted as -- unrelated to Dykstra's claims. Given her employment for Nerdist during the time she was dating Hardwick, a public perception that this was going on during that time could be an issue for the company to be hyper-vigilant about.
The links between Dykstra's claims and her time with Hardwick seemingly so obvious, some fans on social media are already wondering whether he will be disinvited from Comic Con or lose his talk show gigs, although as far as we know, none of Hardwick's employers or business associates have commented publicly on Dykstra's essay at the time of publication.
This is a developing story.