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The Replies to Nerdist’s Statement About Chris Hardwick Are Awful

Chris Hardwick Nerdist Twitter statement

Nerdist released a statement after they reinstated Chris Hardwick’s name as founder on their site, and the replies on Twitter are … troubling, to say the least.

The statement that Nerdist put out on Twitter is thoughtfully done. From the carefully chosen language, it appears likely that they put Hardwick’s name back in place because they were legally obligated to do so, and the choice was not the current Nerdist team’s doing. Hardwick’s name had been removed from Nerdist following Chloe Dykstra’s Medium post that detailed alleged emotional and sexual abuse.

Nerdist mentions that it’s their parent company that “completed its investigations into the allegations against Chris Hardwick and issued a statement on our site that reinstated a mention of Hardwick as the founder of Nerdist, which is factually true.” Talk about damning with faint praise. Factually true.

The statement then expresses Nerdist’s “ongoing support” of victims of women and victims, and reiterates that their business relationship with Hardwick ended in 2017. The rest of the Nerdist statement is filled with resources about sexual assault and suicide prevention, as are their followup tweets.

Yet many of the replies to Nerdist’s statement on Twitter are angry Hardwick fanboys and fangirls who still take issue with the accusations against him by ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra and wave AMC’s “investigation” around as proof positive that Chris Hardwick did nothing wrong.

We need to address this so-called “investigation,” which Dykstra chose not to participate in, saying that she was choosing to move on with her life. People appear to be confused about what such an investigation would have constituted, seeming to believe it involved law enforcement or “the authorities” clearing Hardwick of all alleged wrongdoing.

The network’s investigation was conducted by the firm of Loeb & Loeb, which is an odd choice, as they have represented the interests of the Hearst family in the past. Hardwick’s wife, Lydia Hearst, is a Hearst heiress, and Hardwick is, by marriage, a member of the Hearst family. I’m no tin-hat conspiracy theorist, but it’s a sketchy ethical move—a potential conflict of interest on the law firm’s behalf, if nothing else.

The firm was not hired to directly investigate the truth of Dykstra’s allegations. As mentioned above, she did not participate. They were assessing Hardwick’s behavior in terms of AMC and its Hardwick-related properties, in terms of whether he was an active legal liability at the network. This was supposed to be strictly business, and if none of their interviews with “numerous” people uncovered abusive behavior by Hardwick while he was at work, well, that’s apparently that for AMC.

This is problematic for several reasons: We have no idea who the firm spoke with, and whether these people would have been in a position to speak out against Hardwick should they even want to, given the power dynamic in play, and Hardwick’s enormous influence and stardom. In addition, there’s the obvious fallacy that someone who theoretically behaves themselves at work should be cleared to continue to do so despite troubling abuse allegations.

How one presents in public, to some coworkers, is no indication of what they’re doing behind closed doors, or how they’re behaving with others. Ongoing discomfort with Hardwick’s reinstatement would appear to be evidenced by the recent departure of several female staffers from his show, The Talking Dead; it’s not a situation that these employees should have had to face.

Yet the replies to Nerdist’s statement demonstrate the culture that so many victims encounter: total disbelief and cruel disdain, plus the idea that this “investigation” has somehow scrubbed Hardwick clean of Dykstra’s allegations.

Oh, let’s not forget the pearl-clutching that those accused are going to lose everything and have their lives ruined.

At least some replies seem to understand what’s happening here.

Again, it’s 2018, apparently a scary byword for accountability for one’s actions, so anyone “cleared” surely must be innocent.

But let’s really get to the heart of how many Hardwick fans feel. Don’t mince any words, now.

Folks still seem to be confused about the nature of the investigation conducted at AMC.

They are also extremely confused about how human relationships can work.

I appreciate the Twitter users who are taking the time to calmly respond to the incendiary language used against Dykstra and Nerdist. While people are certainly more than free to stan Chris Hardwick, the instinct to viciously attack Dykstra and her supporters in the same breath seems to go hand-in-hand more often than not. I wonder why that is?

(via Nerdist on Twitter, CBR, image: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for AMC)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.