In the weeks and months after penning an essay alleging abuse by an unnamed ex-boyfriend, actress Chloe Dykstra faced a torrent of online harassment after many on the Internet deduced she was referring to Chris Hardwick.
Now Dykstra has opened up in a new report on the #MeToo movement from TIME Magazine, revealing that she went through a dark period due to the amount of harassment she received. It began after she first published the essay, checking her Twitter feed the next morning.
"I opened trending and saw my face," Dykstra told TIME. "It was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. I was just like, ‘No, no, no.'"
She said the initial messages were supportive, but as the day wore on and Hardwick's name became linked to the essay, the tone changed..
"Then the tide kind of shifted," Dykstra said. "I was attacked relentlessly. There was an organized group of people online whose sole purpose was to try to disprove me. I was terrified people were going to figure out where I lived."
Dealing with a barrage of insults and hatred, Dykstra admits she faced major struggles in her life.
"After months of reading horrible things about myself, I got to such a low point that I considered ending it," she said. "I didn’t really have guidance because you can’t really Google, ‘How to handle being an accuser?'"
Despite not naming Hardwick directly, he quickly became associated with the accusation and was temporarily suspended from his hosting duties for various talkshows on AMC while the network conducted an investigation.
Dykstra states she did not participate in AMC's investigation, and Hardwick was shortly reinstated and has since returned to host Talking Dead.
"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," AMC's statement read. "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."
The actress admitted she was happy Hardwick returned to the network for personal reasons.
"When I found out he had gotten his jobs back, I was actually relieved because I knew [the online harassment] wasn’t going to stop until he was reinstated," Dykstra said. But as the report states, the harassment has yet to end entirely.