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Chloe Dykstra Explains Why She Chose Not to Participate in AMC’s Investigation Into Chris Hardwick

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It was announced this week that, following an investigation by AMC, Chris Hardwick will be reinstated as the host of The Talking Dead. Now Chloe Dykstra, who wrote the essay about a toxic, abusive relationship with a man believed to be Hardwick (she never named him in the piece) that spurred his removal in the first place, has taken to Twitter explain why she chose not to be a part of that investigation.

“I have been adamant since I came forward with my essay that I never set out to ruin the career of the person I spoke about,” she writes. “I could have provided more details, but chose not to. I have said what I wanted to say on the matter, and I wish to move on with my life. For that reason, I chose not to participate in the investigation against the person I spoke of. I do not believe in an eye for an eye, and therefore I have only shared my evidence with those who I felt should see it.”

While Dykstra must have known that, even by not naming Hardwick (which she continues not to do now), her essay would have had negative ramifications for him and his career, this post is a great reminder that when a victim alleging abuse chooses to come forward, she or he is allowed to do it on their terms. Her essay was about finding closure and shining a light on issues of emotional abuse, as well as reclaiming what had become, in her words, a “false narrative […] created to hurt me and my career.” She did mention that she had physical proof of the abuses she detailed, but only as a warning that the man in question not try to retaliate legally.

There will be plenty of trolls who take Dykstra’s declination to participate in the investigation as proof that she was lying, as they also misinterpret Hardwick’s reinstatement as “proof” of his innocence, but this was not a legal proceeding. It has nothing to do with “due process.” It was an internal investigation run by a private company, looking to decide whether or not the allegations against Hardwick affected their working relationship, not whether they were true or false. And it was an investigation into the fate of Hardwick’s career, which Dykstra has said from the beginning she is not trying to have a say in.

But those same trolls who trust the results of an internal investigation as being proof of a man’s innocence are likely the exact same people who become outraged at the existence of any investigation that leads to a man’s firing. It’s a shady witch hunt, they say, otherwise, why wouldn’t the company make the public privy to every detail? I’m guessing the Venn diagram of those two groups is a perfect circle. It’s not about the process for them; it’s about getting a specific result.

I’m sure those who were already convinced Dykstra was lying take no issue with the fact that the law firm hired by AMC has a long history of representing the outrageously wealthy Hearst family, which Hardwick married into when he wed his wife, Lydia Hearst, but what’s a major conflict of interest weighed against the predetermined opinions of rabid fanboys?

The treatment of Dykstra since she came out with her story has been abhorrent. Hardwick stans didn’t need an investigation to believe she was lying (and to tell her so online), and no outcome to that investigation would have changed their minds, but even those who don’t believe her still could, in a perfect world, treat her with decency. Instead, TMZ published “chopped up and spun” texts from her to Hardwick, in an attempt to make her seem crazy and desperate. (Which Dykstra mentions in this Twitter post as an answer to everyone who asks why she never reached out to him personally before publishing her essay.)

Hardwick’s wife, Lydia Hearst has been attacking Dykstra and her supporters online, to the extent of publicly shaming one former Nerdist employee for her private struggles with sobriety. (Obviously, I’m not linking to that, but it’s monstrous behavior.)

I believe Dykstra when she says she wasn’t trying to have an effect on her ex-boyfriend’s career. She had an opportunity to weigh in on a network’s choice to continue employing him, and she declined. Many will choose to believe that that’s because she didn’t have evidence to back up her claims, but after subjecting herself to an avalanche of toxic abuse for the last month, I choose to believe her when she says she’s just not interested.

“With the circus moving out of town,” she writes on Twitter, “I intend to focus on the subject I originally wanted to shed light on: emotional abuse. I plan to continue this conversation and intend to work with institutions like RAINN and other support groups for survivors.”

(image: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.