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Nerdist Distances Itself From Founder Chris Hardwick After Ex-Girlfriend Alleges 'Long-Term Abuse'

In a Medium post, Chloe Dykstra described surviving a years-long abusive relationship with an unnamed man — who fits the description of Chris Hardwick.

By Noah Hurowitz

The popular geek-culture website Nerdist has scrubbed any mention of founder Chris Hardwick from its “about” page after Hardwick’s ex-girlfriend, actress Chloe Dykstra, accused him — without actually naming him directly — of tormenting her with emotional abuse, repeated sexual assault, and controlling behavior during their three-and-a-half year relationship.

In a Medium story posted Thursday, Dykstra — referring to a man “almost 20 years my senior” — said that from the first days of their relationship he forbade her from hanging out with other men, effectively alienated her from friends by demanding she stay home at night, and demanded that she have sex with him whether she wanted to or not.

“What I wanted was a partner, someone to confide in, someone to share things with, someone who wouldn’t judge me, someone I knew would be there for me,” she wrote. “What I felt that this man wanted was a woman who would feed him, sleep with him, and go to events with him.”

When she finally left the ex-boyfriend, he lashed out by spreading nasty rumors about her, successfully getting her blacklisted, Dykstra wrote.

"Because of my leaving him for someone else, he made calls to several companies I received regular work from to get me fired by threatening to never work with them,” she wrote. “He succeeded. I was blacklisted. With the assistance of a woman who’d gained my trust and my heart over the past year, he steamrolled my career.”

Dykstra did not refer to Hardwick by name in the post, but many of the details she gave about her ex-boyfriend line up with Hardwick, including that the ex had gone from being a “mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company.”

Hardwick, a longtime television and radio host, spent years bopping about the fringes of Hollywood before the Nerdist Podcast he founded took off and was eventually bought in 2012, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

In the most recent archived version of Nerdist Industries’ website, dated May 30, its “about page” described the website as “the heart of Chris Hardwick’s digital media empire.” Any mention of Hardwick was gone as of Friday afternoon.

In a statement to news outlets, Legendary Entertainment, the parent company of Nerdist Industries, distanced itself from Hardwick.

"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," a company spokesperson said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Dykstra, 29, acknowledged the notice her post was getting in a tweet Friday morning.

"I quietly posted an article today, unlisted on Medium. 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." 

In her Medium post, Dykstra described years of mistreatment by her ex, as well as her own struggles with anorexia and low self-esteem that kept her from leaving him.

In one startling anecdote, she described being moved by the fact that her boyfriend stayed overnight in the hospital during a surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy. But after surgery, when the doctor was speaking with her mother and the boyfriend to tell them the surgery went well, Dykstra’s ex had one primary concern.

“That’s great. When do you think I can have sex with her again?” she quotes him as saying.

Representatives for Hardwick have thus far declined to comment, according to Deadline Hollywood.

[Photo: Getty Images]