Friday, June 15, 2018

UPDATE: One female fan's interesting "take" on the Hardwick/Chloe Dykstra situation

What follows is the first news story I saw upon opening up the interwebs today. It has kicked me right in the gut and knocked the wind out of me. I'm having such a rush of thoughts and feelings that the idea of NOT commenting on this story makes me physically sick to my stomach.

So, sit back and grab a cold one, because this will take a minute.

First, let me say that I believe this woman. I believe everything she says, and nothing I say from this point on should be construed as contradicting that.

Second, let me emphasize that, when I say that I know the man she's talking about, I do not mean I know him personally. Anyone familiar with Chris Hardwick's career can tell that she's talking about him. I have not worked with him, and I've only met him once. But I've followed his career since before he even met this woman. More importantly, I've looked up to him for over a decade. He is one of only three people in Hollywood whose career and business model is one I've admired and wanted to emulate. So while I don't know him personally, I feel like I KNOW him, you know?

Having said that, what she wrote made me realize the ambiguities and complexities of the #metoo movement, and made me confront my own beliefs and, yes, prejudices.

Long story short, it made me very uncomfortable to see his name being lumped in with the Harvey Weinsteins and the Kevin Spaceys, and I needed to figure out why.

It wasn't just because he was a cute white boy with a face and sense of humor I was attracted to, whose age and background was very close to mine.

Was it??

I was stuck on that thought like a needle skipping on an LP (age-appropriate metaphor for his and my generation.)

Then I realized what was making me so uncomfortable about this story:

Was this abuse? Yes. No question.

Could/should she have approached him privately to get an apology and seek closure? That's her call, not ours.

But is he a sexual predator?


Yes, the #metoo movement absolutely includes any and all experiences beyond a stereotypical mustache-twirling villain preying sexually on a professional subordinate.

But her story is not about that. It's about two very damaged, dysfunctional people mired in a very toxic relationship. I've known other people in toxic relationships with unequal power levels. I've BEEN in toxic relationships with unequal power levels.

They're tragic and suffocating and they eclipse all connection to rational thought. As this woman says, she was dying of thirst but couldn't see there was a water fountain 20 feet away.

To me, sexual predators feel like a very different beast.

That, to me, is the difference.

But.... are they really? I don't know. That's why this story is bothering me so much. I honestly don't know if her ex deserves to be lumped in with the predators or not. Am I saying, "He doesn't!" simply because I feel like I know him?

I honestly don't know, and my ambiguity bothers me.

[Here} is a link to her article. Please read her article, rather than any of the breaking news stories about her article which focus on his defense or his condemnation. Because this isn't about him.

This is about her.

At the end of the story, she said that just one sincere apology and mea culpa from him could have given her the release and closure she needed. Yes, I admit my first thought was, "Well, did you actually ASK him for that at any time since breaking up with him?"

And I had that thought not because I'm victim-shaming, but because I am a naturally active person who doesn't immediately understand why someone defaults to inaction rather than action. I projected that onto her, and that is unfair of me.

Like every human on the planet, she did the best she knew how at the time. And yes, I'll say that he also did the best he knew how, at the time. That is why stories like these are complex and do not deserve knee-jerk judgments.

But ultimately, it is her story. Stories like hers deserve to be heard. As sad and uncomfortable as it makes me to think about the fallout her story may have for his life and his career, this is about her, her journey and her healing, and helping other people in similar relationships, and I support that.

I hope others will read her story and -- especially if they know or have worked with/for her ex -- will pause before rushing to his defense or his condemnation.

I can't defend him. I also can't condemn him to the Weinstein/Spacey circle of hell.

I hope he rises to the occasion and owns up to what happened and makes things right with her, and with his fans. I don't know how that would happen, but I really, really hope he finds a way. She deserves it, and I want to believe he's capable of that, and of setting a precedent.


I'd love to discuss this respectfully and rationally with anyone who has a strong opinion either way.

(Direct link HERE.)