Many hours after the allegations of abuse against him surfaced, Chris Hardwick has responded, specifically to the claims made about sexual assault. For those not following the unfolding saga, early on Friday, Hardwick's long-term ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra went public with pretty horrific accusations of abuse, both physical and mental, by the prolific TV host while they were together. While Hardwick wasn't named in Dykstra's online posting, it didn't take a genius to put together that she was referring to him.
The ramifications have already started to mount, with Nerdist - a company Hardwick founded - going out of their way to distance themselves from their former CEO, including removing all mentions of him from their website. Just a few hours ago, reports also surfaced that AMC was under pressure to drop the axe on season 2 of Hardwick's soon to return talk show Talking with Chris Hardwick. This pressure was being exerted by reps for Hardwick's celebrity guests, who understandably wanted to avoid being seen on TV in a friendly atmosphere with the embattled host.
Now, Hardwick has finally released a statement responding to Dykstra's allegations of abuse. Well, partially, at least. He denies her claims of sexual assault specifically, but stops short of offering any other specific denials of the many other things Dykstra alleged he did to her. Hardwick's full statement can be read below (via Deadline).
These are very serious allegations and not to be taken lightly which is why I’ve taken the day to consider how to respond. I was heartbroken to read Chloe’s post. Our three year relationship was not perfect - we were ultimately not a good match and argued - even shouted at each other - but I loved her, and did my best to uplift and support her as a partner and companion in any way and at no time did I sexually assault her.
When we were living together, I found out that Chloe had cheated on me, and I ended the relationship. For several weeks after we broke up, she asked to get back together with me and even told me she wanted to have kids with me, ‘build a life’ with me and told me that I was ‘the one,’ but I did not want to be with someone who was unfaithful. I’m devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur. l was blindsided by her post and always wanted the best for her. As a husband, a son, and future father, I do not condone any kind of mistreatment of women.
There's a lot to unpack here, and it's obviously of utmost importance to do it in a serious fashion. For one, Chris Hardwick's rather defiant statement is quite unlikely to earn him much praise from those who already believe Chloe Dykstra's allegations to be credible, but to be fair, there probably isn't much he could realistically say to achieve that outcome. Still, the fact that not only does he not apologize to Dykstra, but actually goes on the attack is likely to go over like a lead balloon with many. His remarks about her being unfaithful during their relationship seem clearly designed to portray her as untrustworthy, even while he acknowledges that they had a less than ideal relationship that involved shouting at each other.
Of course, no one should be expected to apologize or take responsibility for actions they're not guilty of, and the only two people who know what really happened here are of course Hardwick and Dykstra. That said, both of their contradictory accounts can't be true, and it's hard not to be moved by the vivid detail and harrowing recollections Dykstra presented in her post detailing the alleged abuse. Something else worth considering is that while Hardwick denied the sexual assault allegations, he failed to directly deny any of the other specific claims made by Dykstra.
Near the end of Dykstra's post about Hardwick, she insinuated that if he came after her in response, she had audio and video evidence of the alleged abuse. With Hardwick now seemingly attacking her credibility, one wonders if she'll make good on that threat.