Hardwick is accused of sexual assault…okay, let’s be the judge

I understand the world we live, you can’t fight the ocean. So here are the obligatory opening statements.

1-I know a thing or two about sexual abuse.  I spent a night with a woman crying in my arms who was the victim of sexual assault, because Lord help her I was the only port in the storm.  I’ve dealt with more than my share of victims, because I have a reputation for keeping my mouth shut, and that is often what they first want most….to tell it to someone who can keep their mouth shut.  I take it seriously, because it is serious.  It ruins people.  I’ve seen it ruin people.  People I care about. Remember this, should I start to seem more than appropriately displeased with either of these two.

2-I don’t give a damn one way or the other about Chris Hardwick.  I’ve seen his show, paid attention to his comedic timing, delivery and cadence…didn’t find anything extraordinary, that’s as much as I paid attention.

We all straight on that? Good.

I also understand that the pop-culture has made us all the judge, jury and executioner. So, since that’s how it is, let’s take it seriously.  Let’s pick up the gavel and look at this.

We have one blog from a Chloe Dykstra accusing Hardwick of mental and sexual abuse over the course of a three-year relationship.  That blog is HERE.  I suggest you read it, with gavel in hand, because that blog is the only evidence we have to work with.

We have a statement from Hardwick, denying any sexual abuse.  Since I was unable to find that statement anywhere without commentary interjected…I have it below…

“These are very serious allegations and not to be taken lightly which is why I’ve taken the day to consider how to respond,  I was heartbroken to read Chloe’s post. Our three year relationship was not perfect—we were ultimately not a good match and argued—even shouted at each other—but I loved her, and did my best to uplift and support her as a partner and companion in any way and at no time did I sexually assault her.”

“For several weeks after we broke up, she asked to get back together with me and even told me she wanted to have kids with me, ‘build a life’ with me and told me that I was ‘the one,’ but I did not want to be with someone who was unfaithful,”

“I’m devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur. l was blindsided by her post and always wanted the best for her. As a husband, a son, and future father, I do not condone any kind of mistreatment of women.”

Now, let’s take our given responsibility and break this down.  All we get from him is a denial with the mention of him being a husband and father.  Okay..so what, plenty of husbands and fathers are good, plenty are bags of sh*t.  I find his statement “blindsided by this” to be less than honest, unless he’s an idiot.  Either he did it, or he was dating a lunatic for three years.  Either way being “blindsided” seems very unlikely to me.  One might call that a lie, one might call that being diplomatic.  That’s something we can’t determine until we decide if we believe she is telling the truth.

SO, we must decide if we find her and her blog credible.

Obviously this was written to harm him.  She adds a throw away line as though it’s written to help others, but unless you are going to date a celebrity 90% of this is irrelevant.  This was written to harm him, and anyone with a pulse can plainly see that. It’s revenge. I…am PERFECTLY okay with that.  That motivation is as pure as trying to help others.  Seeking revenge does not preclude honesty.  This was written for revenge…put a pin in that.  We will want to determine what she wants revenge for.

You can want revenge and still speak on a subject without slanting it.  This is 100% slanted. You can make someone out to be a scumbag and not skew things.  This is 100% skewed.  An example she gives us that jumps out is him saying to her doctor after her life threatening surgery “When can I have sex with her again?”  I’m not just assuming this was a joke, this was a very typical Hardwick joke.  It is exactly the kind of joke he says and how he says it.  Brief, awkward, meant to get a laugh by making people uncomfortable with the over the top asinine thing he said.  That is what he does (it’s pretty much ALL he does).  Taking a statement meant to be a joke and presenting is as him being serious, is in essence a lie, it’s at best deceptive.  It casts a shadow over a lot of this, not all…but a lot. I’ve said “stay here and cook me diner!” to a woman I was dating, it was obviously a joke and she gave me the finger.  But if you present that statement as not a joke and can get people to believe that…I’d sure sound like a knuckle dagger.

Much of what she presents as evidence of him being an ass has the ring of things meant to be jokes.  So much of this is then, in essence deception.  Is she capable of practicing deception to the point of lying about sexual abuse?  That’s the open question. That depends on what kind of person she is and how pissed of she is, I suppose.

It can’t be understated that she blows past the reason she needed the surgery.  It was physical health issue caused by a mental health issue.  Her writing a blog under the pretense of educating and helping and blowing right past that mental health issue, is…let’s be fair and call it a mystifying oversight/thrown away opportunity to do some good.  We’ll just tack it as more evidence that this is a revenge blog.

The rules she said he “laid out”, I am curious as to if he said “these are the rules” or if as things went along he said “yeah, we’re not doing that”.  Most of them seem pretty reasonable if you are a celebrity.  I doubt any celebrity, outside of the ones who are cool with releasing a sex tape of them, are going to be interested in having personal conversations overheard by fans.  If you are a guy who blew up quickly, it is reasonable to be extra sensitive to that.  It is also reasonable to communicate this to whoever you are dating. She said he is “sober” and didn’t want her drinking around him.  I fail to see the problem there, and if he is “sober” as in recovering from alcoholism then she is the asshole for having a problem with this.  So far, even by her own words, I don’t see any evidence of him even being an asshole.  In fact she is coming across as a complete child.

She mentions that she suffers from anorexia and vaguely drifts at least part of the reason of that on Hardwick.  She blames her self-esteem being in the toilet on the relationship.  Either she is ignorant or she hopes we are.  Anorexia is a serious mental illness and it does not just pop up during a relationship in your 20’s. It  …does…not.  It also does not show up alone. It usually brings with it, Or is brought along with, Narcissistic personality disorder, Borderline personality disorder and  crippling self-esteem issues.  And these things manifest themselves during childhood.  Not out of the blue in your 20’s.  They do not.  I know a bit about this stuff, but if you don’t believe me, ask a psychiatrist.  Her blaming the relationship for these things, or hinting as such is in my opinion a lie.  at best they are deception or ignorance of her own condition (which would make her claim to have gone to a therapist a lie…I’ve been to plenty…they would have laid all this out for her early on.)

We, the general public are judge jury and executioner now…that’s not right, but that’s how it is. So we have to look at both sides of things, same as a judge has to be wary of accepting the first side of a story.  Could be it’s true…could also be a lie.  We’re going to have to school ourselves in weeding through things and determining who is a victim and who is a liar.  Who is innocent and who is an abuser.  There WILL be cases of each in the days to come.

This next bit…I need some help with this, I’m having trouble making heads or tails out of it.  I will be more than happy if someone can explain that I am missing something.  I very well could be.

“Our first convention together, San Diego Comic Con, he instructed me to not leave the hotel room. He went to parties by himself and got a famous actress’s number with intention to date her at the same time as me. I found out months later, and couldn’t bring myself to say anything because by this time, my self-worth was in the toilet.”

I’m confused on this one.  I’ll come right out and call this slimy, depending on where they were at in the relationship. Were they dating exclusively at that point?  She say’s it’s their “first con together” so one would assume, since she is a cosplayer and he runs a geek culture podcast is must have been VERY early on. Plenty of “sorta dating” couples go to cons and share hotel rooms. and where did she get this information?  months later?  How does she know what his intentions were?  He interviews actors and actresses for a living, does he not?  Him getting a phone number is his job.    He told her not to leave the hotel room?  This is early on, remember.  Not enough time for someone with control tendencies to overtake the will of even someone with poor self-esteem. How was this said “do NOT leave this hotel room” or “I’m gotta go to an industry party, wait for me here.” or was this also a joke?  I wouldn’t have looked at that paragraph twice if the rest of the blog wasn’t so absurdly slanted.  I don’t know what to make of that honestly.

She claims he didn’t allow her to have male friends and didn’t want her hanging out with a segment of her other friends.  If this blog was less slanted, I’d just say “typical douche bag move”. But it is so slanted that I’m left wondering what his reason was. She has anorexia (to the point it put her in the hospital) was there something about that particular crowd he thought was a bad influence.  He’s “sober” was there something about that particular crowd he disapproved of based on his experiences with alcoholism?  Look..here’s the thing, she’s telling us JACK SH*T about fairly important aspects of him and her with the obvious intention of smearing him.  So I’m having trouble not giving everything the stink eye.  Am I alone here or what? We have the responsibility, we have control over people’s hard fought for careers, we need to be fair and scrutinize.  I am leaning towards him being a douche bag on this, but he could have his reasons, and she doesn’t tell us how this declaration was made.  A little context would have been helpful.

As of writing this, there seems to be some corroboration to her claim that he tried to have her blacklisted.  They both agree that she cheated on him, so I can see him getting butthurt and making some calls.  I don’t know when blacklisting became a capital offense, nor do I think that digging up who blacklisted who is a precedent Hollywood wants to set…but truthfully I’m having more trouble accepting that a Chris Hardwick can black list anyone from anything.  I’ll just say I’ll believe it, and it’s sh*tty.

Onto the heart of the matter, or at least the heart of the matter to us.  The sexual abuse.  I say the heart of the matter to us, because it is clearly NOT the issue she has with him, if in fact it happened.  She says it started early, then complains that 6 months later he didn’t respond nice enough when she said she loved him.  I’m not making that up, or confused on the timeline, or confused that she gave that more attention to that than alleged sexual assault.  She put that in BOLD.  That…to me…is fairly damaging to her credibility and her story.  She didn’t say “I was such a mess that I was more bothered by that than the sexual abuse”, she wrote it as though we are supposed to be focused on that as reason he is an asshole.  In fact she mentions the alleged abuse ONCE, and then goes on to mention his lack of attention to her/his lack of reciprocation SIX times.  This is her writing that NOW.  This is her NOW telling us what about the relationship and him she is angry over.  AFTER telling us he sexually assaulted her, she tells us all the things she wanted out of the relationship but didn’t get.  She gives that an entire paragraph. She says that is what she is angry about.  She is angry…because he didn’t love her.   She says as much. Read it, you don’t even need to read between the lines.

This entire blogs reads like a child’s temper tantrum. Of ALL the accusations we’ve seen over the past few years, this is the FIRST one I read and thought to myself “I don’t know that I can believe one single word this woman is saying”.  Sadly it was only a matter of time before that happened. As much as I think sexual abusers should be outed and punished, and as much as I’d like his show on AMC to be replaced with more episodes of Better Call Saul…this blog is a rambling  not very credible mess.

She eventually finds someone else and leaves him.  One would expect from her a little bit of ” I am glad to be done with that toxic dangerous relationship” but what she says is “After three years of being snapped/yelled at constantly, very rarely being shown any affection- I finally left “ and  “luckily I remained strong in my resolve to leave him, despite my only desire for three years being that he loved me the way I loved him.”  I cannot be the only one who stared at the computer slack jawed.  ……me, myself personally, all I would have wanted was for him to stop sexually abusing me, that would have been WAY higher on my list of wants than him loving me back. ..let’s give her the benefit of the doubt that somehow this is implied via – you don’t sexually abuse someone you love.  I’m bending over backwards here, because I do not want to live in a world were someone would lie about this to get revenge.

This all happened YEARS ago, plenty of time to gain the perspective that him sexually abusing you makes him a dangerous piece of sh*t, not some guy who treated you badly.  IF in fact he did sexually abuse her.  Her devoting ONLY six sentences to THAT in a THREE PAGE blog about why he is a piece of sh* is bewildering…and difficult to accept.  Sure, she doesn’t HAVE to go into it, she didn’t HAVE to write any of it. But she did…she presented it to the general public knowing that if believed it would end his career. and this blog…the point of which being he is a piece of sh*t, would have been far more believable if it ONLY had those six sentences.  She does not seem to grasp…still…IF it did happen, none of the rest of this needs to be spelled out.  She seems to view it all equally. The lack of affection, the poorly timed jokes and the sexual abuse…all presented equally.

Half of me, after re-reading this, thinks she wrote it first WITHOUT the sexual abuse allegation…looked over…decided it didn’t make him seem awful enough, and then added it.  Re-read it yourself, take OUT the few sentences that speak of the sexual abuse ( the most egregious behavior by a WIDE margin to any reasonable person)  nothing is any less clear.  Those few sentences do not have any bearing with the rest of the blog, they could just get pulled right out and you would not notice anything was missing.  Is that not…odd?…given how profoundly such acts harm and affect a human being?

I don’t know what he did or didn’t do…that much is very unclear because the blog is a contradictory and vague in places it should not be .  It could be that he is a total piece of sh*t, but we are not given enough reason to believe that the way this blog it written, and this blog is all we have. The accounting of the sexual abuse itself is inappropriately vague, considering she knew that the revelation was an attempt to end his career. I don’t want gory details and if she said no and he manipulated or guilt-ed her into it, that’s slimy, skin crawlingly slimy.  However, one has to wonder how much of that is overblown. Any of us who’ve been in a long term adult relationship have given into sex occasionally when we didn’t really feel like it.  Is that what she is considering abuse?  I would not ask this if she hadn’t been employing exaggeration, deception and an acute disconnect with what is and is not more severe than something else,throughout the rest of the blog.  and if it didn’t fly in the face of everything I’ve seen firsthand.

 Can you imagine what a  horrific nightmare being emotionally manipulated into having sex, on a nightly basis, would be ( IF in fact that was happening?) can you imagine going through that and mentioning it side by side with complaints that he didn’t respond correctly to you saying I love you?  You would not be writing a blog at all, you would be in psychotherapy. Let’s be adults, let’s talk reality, real life, real actual human beings.  She is describing a case of sexual abuse that would render a person beyond being able to function in society without dramatic, profound, and consistent mental health care, and likely require an extended stay of inpatient care.   Perhaps she is so justifiably angry that she was of the mind to exaggerate to drive the point home. Though, I don’t know of anyone who has suffered through this , and understands how profoundly awful it is, who thinks that even a single instance isn’t damning enough. To what degree her account is a complete lie or an exaggeration, I do not know.

Putting aside what he did or did not do, if every single night she didn’t feel like having sex with the guy, why was she dating him? What about this man was it that she actually loved so much, for three years?   I suppose that last question is one for herself and her therapist.

I do know that this woman is admittedly severely damaged, and it’s the kind of damage comes during childhood. and if she did in fact hope to help anyone…she should have spoken of that. and if she wants to help herself she should start there, regardless of what may have happened in her 20’s.  The childhood damage of that variety, if not addressed, can have you repeating a self destructive cycle the rest of your life…who you choose to, or to not, surround yourself with is part of the cycle.

For Hardwick to lose his career over a rambling un-credible blog full of inconsistencies, that amounts to an obvious rewrite of a three year relationship, by someone who has a lot of personal issues to overcome that manifested long before meeting Hardwick, with an accusations of non-stop sexual abuse for a three year period… squeezed in as though an after thought…is not good.  He may well be a POS, but if you believe that based on this blog, it’s because you want to, not because it made any sense.

It’s not good because the next person will lose a job over a tweet “so and so assaulted me”.  and a few instances after that…people will go back to not paying attention and not believing and not caring…and victims will once again have nowhere to turn except some guy they know who can keep his mouth shut.  I don’t want to go through that again, I’m not equipped to be of enough help.  I want people to have many people they can go to, places to be believed and places to get help and recover.  And anyone who impedes progress in that direction can go to hell.  I want to believe she is not lying.  I want to believe people are not so petty as to use this issue to hurt each other…but “want” is not superseding the doubt I have that stems from the very words she typed.

As for Hardwick, if you believe him…it doesn’t matter, his career is over, it took one blog and 24 hours.  I guess you could listen to his podcasts.  I hope he’s ready to do social commentary because it will be a long time before anyone tunes in to hear him talk about movies, comics, and tv shows.  One can only hope that he does not become an engine of the attitude of “assume they are lying”.  After all, he’s not going to go to jail…he’s not going to turn around and become an electrician.  He’s going to out there…with a giant chip on his shoulder.

I fear the law of unintended consequences will have it’s way with all this.  It doesn’t have to.  We can and should take all of these on a case by case basis. Like adults.

 

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