Nerdist scrubbed mention of its founder and CEO Chris Hardwick today after actress Chloe Dykstra claimed that he abused her during their relationship.
Dykstra posted an essay to Medium Friday morning, hinting at Hardwick though not naming him. This person, according to Dykstra, was physically and mentally abusive. They also dictated what she could drink, who she could see, and where she should work.
“I watched and supported him as he grew from a mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company,” Dykstra wrote. “I was terrified to piss him off—so I did what he said…Including let him sexually assault me.”
Dykstra described years of degradation:
But I never received closure. For the long-lasting trauma, physical and emotional. For the time I was screamed at for spilling some bottled water in a rental car. For the time I asked him if he “was okay” one too many times. For the time I gasped at a cute puppy and I was punished for startling him. For how cold and unkind he was to me 90% of the time. For losing the life and friendships I’d built because of his insecurities. For blaming me for leaving him when he was never there in the first place, except when he wanted sex.
Nerdist has since scrubbed all references to Hardwick from its website, as of Friday afternoon. The company, which Hardwick co-founded in 2012, did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.
The company hasn’t said whether Hardwick still serves as its CEO.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Nerdist said it "absolutely [doesn't] tolerate discrimination, harassment, and other forms of abuse." The company didn't address Dykstra's claims, or even mention Hardwick. (Nerdist recycled a statement from its parent company that did mention Hardwick, however.)
Hardwick’s biography was also removed. His “quick wit and up-to-the-minute intellect have made him the voice for a generation of pop culture enthusiasts,” the page said.
At least one Nerdist freelancer—film writer Scott Weinberg—has already severed ties with the company.
“Before today the man's name was on every single page of the website,” Weinberg tweeted. “As just one lowly freelancer, I never liked that. Now it's just gone.”
Hardwick was also removed as a moderator of the Nerdist subreddit.
Legendary Digital Networks, which acquired Nerdist Industries in 2012, said an investigation into Hardwick’s conduct is pending.
“Chris Hardwick had no operational involvement with Nerdist for the two years preceding the expiration of his contract in December 2017,” a spokesperson for Legendary Entertainment told the Hollywood Reporter.
“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,” the spokesperson added.
NBC, where Hardwick hosts The Wall, is currently reviewing the matter. Hardwick previously hosted several shows on AMC that have been suspended.
"We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years," an AMC spokesperson told Motherboard. "We take the troubling allegations that surfaced yesterday very seriously. While we assess the situation, Talking with Chris Hardwick will not air on AMC, and Chris has decided to step aside from moderating planned AMC and BBC America panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month."
Hardwick was also scheduled to moderate a Dr. Who panel at the San Diego Comic-Con, and will no longer be attending.
“I quietly posted an article today, unlisted on Medium,” Dykstra tweeted this afternoon.
“It clearly made the rounds. I’m overwhelmed and I want to thank all of you for your support and kind words—they mean so much to me. I may take some time off the internet, please know your support means everything to me.”
This story has been updated to include a statement from Nerdist and AMC.