In the wake of Chloe Dykstra’s Medium post about an unnamed but allegedly abusive ex-boyfriend, Chris Hardwick has been widely accepted as its subject. He’s lost gigs and a lot of fans, in part because of his horrid response. But he still has his supporters, among them The Man Show’s worse half Adam Carolla, and Hardwick’s mother-in-law Patty Hearst.
Carolla’s defense of Hardwick essentially boiled down to we don’t know what happened behind close doors, and Hardwick is a good guy. (You know how I feel about that excuse). Indie Wire reports Carolla said on his eponymous podcast:
“First off, he’s a gentle soul of a guy. Chris has always been a very thoughtful, sort of just gentle guy… Also, there’s no such thing as being in a relationship, where somebody couldn’t compose something that said ‘I felt threatened.’”
First off, that Hardwick was “a gentle soul” to Carolla means nothing. He’s not accused of abusing Carolla. Besides, abusers are often charming to the outside world. Hell, they’re often charming to the people they abuse. That’s part of how gaslighting works. Then, Carolla’s assertion that every relationship has points where a partner might feel “threatened” is a horrific assumption that doesn’t defend Hardwick as much as make us concerned about what Carolla thinks of as a healthy relationship. But hey, at least he scored headlines and more people know about his podcast now, right?
Meanwhile, Patty Hearst has weighed in once more in Hardwick’s defense. The Wrap reports she reposted an old social media video in which Dykstra discusses the emergency surgery required by the ectopic pregnancy that threatened her life. In the video made on March 28, 2013, Dykstra mentions how Hardwick slept at the foot of her hospital bed, and says, “Chris, if you’re watching this, I love you very much and you’re perfect.”
Like those leaked text messages, this is meant to undercut Dykstra’s accusations, suggesting that Hardwick was a loving boyfriend. But again, this suggestion ignores the truth of abusive relationships. Yes, the abuser can be quite caring at times. That’s part of why the abused stays. Dykstra’s post acknowledged as much, noting Hardwick sleeping at the foot of her bed, and writing, “It made me believe that deep down inside of him maybe there was a man who loved me.”
What the video that Hearst finds so damning does not include is what Hardwick allegedly said post-op:
Then, after my recovery, he and my mother were greeted by the doctor.
“The surgery went well, she’ll be fine,” said my doctor.
“Thank god,” said my mother.
“That’s great. When do you think I can have sex with her again?” said my ex.
It was his first question. My mother never forgot.
Team Hardwick wants to think this proves deception on Dykstra’s part. But that Dykstra does not mention this exchange in the video is not evidence that it didn’t happen. To assume so would be to ignore how we tend to show a more successful, positive, brag-worthy side of ourselves on social media. What’s actually telling is that some of Hardwick’s closest associates aren’t backing him up here.
Actress Felicia Day, who has often worked with Hardwick, tweeted support of Dykstra (@skydart).
I was so shocked and sad to read @skydart's post this morning. I'm having a lot feelings I'm grappling with but more than anything my heart goes out to her.— Felicia Day (@feliciaday) June 15, 2018
And the only tweet that Hardwick’s podcast co-host Matt Mira has posted since Dykstra’s story hit is this retweet of Day’s message:
This is as good as it can be said. https://t.co/78F5pVDdYY— Matt Mira (@MattMira) June 15, 2018
As for Hardwick’s other Nerdist/ID10T podcast co-host — as we mentioned in Pajiba Love — Jonah Ray tweeted a series of gifs yesterday featuring Keanu Reeves from River’s Edge, a movie in which a young man murders his girlfriend and his friends (Reeves among them) try to cover it up. The cryptic tweets had the caption “Me RN (THREAD),” but it has since been deleted. It might be a coded response to the Hardwick allegations, but we can’t be sure. Ray’s latest tweet is this:
I’m sorry and I’m figuring it out.— Jonah Ray Rodrigues (@jonahray) June 21, 2018
As for Dykstra, she took a break from social media once her post went viral. But yesterday, Dykstra returned to Twitter to post a thank you to those who have overwhelmingly come out in support of her, and deliver a message of hope to those who’ve suffered abuse.
Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart. pic.twitter.com/giXmp2wb9V— Chloe Dykstra (@skydart) June 20, 2018
“Thank you all so, so much.
The outpouring of support and love I’ve received over the past few days has been incredible and unexpected. The people who have come forward with both stories validating mine, and stories of their own personal experiences, have helped me immensely with my own healing process. After years of therapy and rebuilding, your support has done so much more for me than all of it combined.
This whole experience has opened my eyes to so much, and my heart goes out to those trapped in an unhealthy or abusive relationships who haven’t found the strength to leave, those suffering in the workplace due to abuses of power or unfair treatment, and especially to those that don’t feel their voice can be heard the way mine has.
It is my hope, and it always was, that women and men on both sides of abuse will make changes to either protect themselves, or to stop the cycle of pain their own behavior can cause. These behaviors are insidious and often hard to spot - we make excuses for them and, bit by bit, we can lose ourselves entirely.
Despite recent events, I hope that everyone personally affected by my story can to find their own closure, through the support of loved ones and friends, the way I have. In addition, my heart goes out to those caught in the fallout.
Having been able to lift my shoulders that which was weighing me down, I’m ready to move forwards in my life, finally, instead of looking back with fear and sadness.
Thank you, once again, for your love and support.”