A few weeks ago, after surveying the nation’s nerd coffers and somehow finding them to be empty, AMC declared that Chris Hardwick would return to his post as host of The Talking Dead. Last night, he did so, his eyes welling up with tears as gave a little speech at the top of the show, thanking the “Walking Dead community” for their support, calling the gig “a vital part of my life and a sanctuary,” and thanking interim host Yvette Nicole Brown for her work. He did not mention that several of the show’s staffers, including co-executive producer Jen Patton, had quit in protest of his reinstatement.
This was in the wake of an autobiographical essay by actress and former Nerdist host Chloe Dykstra, alleging serious emotional and sexual abuse by an unnamed-but-obvious “nerd mogul” ex. In response, AMC canceled Hardwick’s scheduled San Diego Comic-Con appearances and suspended him from his talk shows pending an internal investigation conducted by attorney Ivy Kagan Bierman, whose bio says she specializes in sexual harassment training and investigations for TV networks and other entertainment companies “with ‘edgy’ programming content.” Within weeks, Hardwick was back at work.
Dykstra has maintained since the beginning that she was not out to get the man she wrote about in her essay fired, and instead wanted it to “[serve] as both closure for me as I say farewell to my twenties and stumble my way into my thirties,” and “[serve] as a warning for every single one of you, regardless of gender.” After it was announced that Hardwick had been given the all-clear, she said she opted not to participate in the investigation, because “I do not believe in an eye for an eye.” Still, this didn’t sit right with the newly departed Talking Dead staffers, of whom an anonymous source tells Deadline: “They felt they couldn’t stay after Chloe was not part of the investigation.”
Although she declined to participate in AMC’s investigation, Dykstra maintained that her story is true in her most recent tweet about the matter:
Hardwick is also back in the good graces of his other employers, NBC, which booked Hardwick as a guest judge on America’s Got Talent after his reinstatement on AMC.