In the wake of serious abuse allegations leveled by former Nerdist employee Chloe Dykstra against an ex-boyfriend widely assumed to be former Nerdist CEO Chris Hardwick, the company has purged references to Hardwick from its website.
Dykstra posted an essay late last night, which has gone viral today, detailing an abusive relationship which she describes in enough detail to leave little doubt that the man involved was Hardwick, but declines to name him. She does say in the piece that her abuser was twenty years older than her, and that he went from being a podcaster to the CEO of his own company. Hardwick fits both descriptions.
"Chris Hardwick had no operational involvement with Nerdist for the two years preceding the expiration of his contract in December 2017. He no longer has any affiliation with Legendary Digital Networks. The company has removed all reference to Mr. Hardwick even as the original Founder of Nerdist pending further investigation," a Legendary spokesperson said in statement on Friday.
Legendary bought Nerdist in 2012.
Hardwick rebranded the long-running Nerdist Podcast as ID10T and moved it away from the site in February, severing the last ties he had with the company. Before it was removed, his bio incorrectedly stated that he was still working there.
Per the bio, Hardwick "currently serves as founder, CEO, and creative head of Nerdist Industries, a media empire under the Legendary Digital Network that encompasses the Nerdist.com website, YouTube channel, and Hardwick’s incredibly successful Nerdist Podcast, which he continues to host and garners over 6.9M downloads per month."
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.0comments
"A sincere and heartfelt apology could have made my last four years a hell of a lot easier," Dykstra wrote in her essay. "The person I used to date would try to sue me due to pride- I would not recommend it. I have audio/video that will support and prove many of the things I’ve stated in this post. I’ve chosen not to include it for your sake, in the hopes that the person you’ve become will do the right thing."