Actor Chloe Dykstra recently published an essay on Medium in which she claims she suffered years of emotional and sexual abuse from an ex-boyfriend. Dykstra does not name the ex, but many people have concluded that he is Nerdist cofounder and CEO Chris Hardwick.
Dykstra gives some clues. She mentions the man is almost 20 years her senior (Dykstra is 29, Hardwick is 46), that he “grew from a mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company” (Hardwick began hosting The Nerdist Podcast in 2010 and eventually developed it into his own media company), and that he was sober at the time they were dating (Hardwick is a recovering alcoholic).
According to Dykstra’s account, this ex-boyfriend expected sex on demand, forced her to get rid of any male friends, commanded her not to speak in public or drink alcohol–just to name a few points on his list of manipulative rules. Dykstra broke up with this man after three years, but she says he continued to sabotage her life by calling companies she regularly worked with to get her fired. At her lowest point of being blacklisted, Dykstra says she repeatedly contemplated suicide.
Dykstra says that despite the possible backlash, she decided to come forward to outline the kind of damaging behavior from this man that she previously tried to explain away–a common instinct in abusive relationships. She writes:
This story, post, whatever this is, serves as both closure for me as I say farewell to my twenties and stumble my way into my thirties, and it serves as a warning for every single one of you, regardless of gender. One of my favorite quotes comes from Bojack Horseman:
“You know, it’s funny; when you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.”
Please, please, keep an eye out for those red flags.
Fast Company reached out to Hardwick’s publicist for comment. We will update this story if we receive a response.