Chris Hardwick Welcomed Back To AMC Following Sexual Assault Allegations
Chris Hardwick was the engaging, fast-rising star hosting more TV shows than any one man should, ranging from post-show chats on AMC's Talking Dead to game show host for NBC's The Wall. Then in June, his ex came out with graphic allegations of disturbing behavior that took place during their relationship, including sexual assault. The allegations led to him being suspended from several of his high-profile gigs.
Now, he's coming back. After going dark on his podcast and social media and dropping out of his years-long role as the king of Comic-Con, moderating the biggest panels, AMC has announced that he's returning as host of Talking Dead and his more general talk show, Talking with Chris Hardwick.
"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," AMC said in a statement.
The move follows the firing of director James Gunn last week from the Marvel Cinematic Universe for offensive tweets from years ago that were resurfaced. With Gunn, there were no allegations of improper real-world behavior.
Hardwick's ex-girlfriend, actress and prominent cosplayer Chloe Dykstra, described what she called "long-term abuse" in a post on Medium in June. She didn't initially name him in the post, but fans quickly put together who she was talking about.
Dykstra said in her post that, among other things, Hardwick sexually assaulted her regularly. Once their relationship ended, she alleges that he called companies that she worked with to get her blacklisted.
In a statement released at the time, Hardwick denied the allegations against him, while admitting some wrongdoing.
He went on to detail his side of the story, saying that he broke up with her after she cheated on him.
"I'm devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur," Hardwick said. "I 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."
In her post, Dykstra says that she was the one who ended the relationship, leaving Hardwick for another man.
Hardwick being returned to his job followed an assessment at AMC conducted with a representative from the firm Loeb & Loeb.
The former host of @midnight and classic MTV game show Singled Out is set to return to host Talking Dead on Aug. 12, according to the Hollywood Reporter, but won't be appearing on the preview special Aug. 5. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown had stepped in temporarily as host of that episode, as well as being one of the moderators who took on prominent hosting duties at Comic-Con. Brown has said that she wasn't trying to take her friend's job, and will be a guest on Hardwick's first episode back.
The social reaction to Hardwick's return has been largely negative, with numerous tweets like the following:
That's not to say that Hardwick doesn't also have his supporters.
Talking with Chris Hardwick was initially set to return in June with scheduled guests including Chris Pratt, Donald Glover, Bill Hader, Amy Adams, Seth Rogen, and more. However, given that it was set to premiere just days after Dykstra's allegations, the show was pulled the day before it was to air.
Hardwick also played moderator for Comic-Con's sister convention WonderCon in Anaheim in March. It remains to be seen whether he will return as a moderator at future conventions.
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