With so many stories coming forward about the #TimesUp and #MeToo movement, it’s hard to keep track with what’s going on. In most cases, the life of the person being accused is turned upside down and sometimes destroyed completely. Some of you might be thinking that it’s a good thing. You might also be thinking that these people deserve what’s coming to them, and therefore you have no sympathy for them. But what about the people who are wrongly accused? In some cases, we’ve seen individuals come forward and say that they had been abused, and after some kind of investigation, their names are cleared and they can return back to the job they were doing to start with. What about these people? What do they do now that their lives have been turned upside down?
Most recently this is happening to Chris Hardwick. For those of you who don’t know who Hardwick is, he founded the Nerdist Network and has hosted a number of AMC after-show series, including Talking Dead. Last year, Hardwick sold the Nerdist Network to someone else and has been working on other projects. He also runs an extremely popular podcast. A few months ago, actress and former Nerdist host Chloe Dykstra made some serious allegations about emotional and sexual abuse. She didn’t name her abuser, but called him a “nerd mogul”. As a result, AMC canceled Hardwick’s scheduled San Diego Comic-Con appearances and of course, suspended him from his talk shows – pending an internal investigation. The investigation, by the way, was conducted by attorney Ivy Kagan Bierman. Her bio indicates that she specializes in sexual harassment training and investigations, specifically for TV networks and other entertainment companies.
Dykstra has always maintained that she was not out to get Hardwick fired. And well, she doesn’t even mention him by name, so it’s hard to determine what’s actually going on. She claims that this was to serve as a way to find closure for herself, and as a warning for everyone else out there who finds themselves in this kind of situation. Here’s where it gets interesting. Dykstra declined to participate in the investigation because she doesn’t believe in “an eye for an eye”. As a result, many of the staff from the Talking Dead felt that they couldn’t stay and therefore left the show completely. Dykstra still maintains that her story is true, but she didn’t feel it was beneficial for herself to participate in the investigation.
I am not here to say who is right and who is wrong. Because I honestly don’t know. Nor is it for me to know. But I do struggle a bit with the fact that Dykstra didn’t want to come forward. Especially if Hardwick was the abuser, it only makes sense that she would want to at least confront him. We’ve seen many celebrities like Kevin Spacey, get blacklisted from the industry, so why go public about this, if you don’t want something to happen to your alleged abuser?
Hardwick made a tearful return to Talking Dead this past Sunday night. His career certainly won’t ever be the same, but the fact that he’s being given a second chance is something commendable. No one is perfect. I’m not defending him or his alleged actions. Nor am I saying what Dykstra said isn’t true. I am saying that there are two sides to every story. We also don’t know what was going on in their relationship. We have to take these allegations seriously, but I hope that it doesn’t end up destroying lives in the process.