Chris Hardwick returned to the airwaves on Sunday to host “Talking Dead” just after “Fear the Walking Dead” made its midseason premiere on AMC.
Yvette Nicole Brown was scheduled to take over for Hardwick in the interim while the network plunged into an in-house investigation over allegations made by the host’s ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra who accused him of sexual misconduct in an essay published on Medium this past June.
AMC’s decision to reinstate the 46-year-old in the host’s chair wasn’t supported by everyone. One executive producer and other “Talking Dead” staff made an exit after they heard he was returning.
Dykstra didn’t outright name Hardwick in her essay, but people made the association based on her timeline of events which included accusations of manipulation and sexual abuse.
Hardwick denied these claims and on Sunday thanked fans and supporters for coming to his defense.
“I really just want to take a minute, and I want to say that I am so appreciative to be standing here right now. And I want to thank you, the “Walking Dead” community, for all of your support these last couple of months.
You know, this show is not just a job to me. This is a vital part of my life, you know. This has been a sanctuary, these last seven years we’ve been here. This has been with me through good times and bad times, and I have so much gratitude to you, the fans and the producers and the amazing casts of both of these shows, for allowing me to come here and be a part of this community every week.
This is what this is. This is a community, and we’re along the precipice of a lot of changes on both “Walking Dead” shows in the coming weeks and months, and I am so looking forward to going on that journey with you, and I’ve said the following words a million times, countless times, and that I’ve never been more thankful than I am in this very moment, to say to you that I am Chris Hardwick, and this is ‘Talking Dead.'”
Despite AMC’s investigation finding Hardwick innocent, Dykstra still stands behind her words, tweeting on Friday:
Hey dudes. Just a reminder: I 100% stand by every single word of my essay. I made sure it was unembellished, factual, and that I had evidence to back it up in order to protect myself in case of ACTUAL litigation (not a network investigation, where I’m not protected). That is all.
— Chloe Dykstra (@skydart) August 10, 2018