Chris Hardwick's return to AMC's Talking Dead on Sunday was an emotional one.
The 46-year-old TV personality thanked his fans for their support in his first episode back since his ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra, claimed in a June essay that she was abused by an unnamed ex-boyfriend, which many believed to be Hardwick.
Hardwick denied all claims of abuse.
After Dykstra's allegations, Hardwick was temporarily removed from Talking Dead and dropped from several San Diego Comic-Con panels. Last month, AMC reinstated Hardwick as host following an internal investigation into the allegations.
“I really just want to take a minute and I want to say that I’m so appreciative to be standing here right now, and I want to thank you, The Walking Dead community, for all your support over these past couple months," Hardwick said on Sunday, fighting back tears. "This show is not just a job to me, this is a vital part of my life, 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, the producers, and the casts of these amazing shows for allowing me to be a part of this community every week,” he continued. “This is what this is, a community, and we’re on 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] I’ve never been more thankful than I am in this moment to say to you: 'I am Chris Hardwick and this is Talking Dead.'”
In a statement late last month, AMC said the allegations against Hardwick were being taken seriously.
"Following a comprehensive assessment by AMC, working with Ivy Kagan Bierman of the firm Loeb & Loeb, who has considerable experience in this area, Chris Hardwick will return to AMC as the host of Talking Dead and Talking With Chris Hardwick," the network said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "We take these matters very seriously, and given the information available to us after a very careful review, including interviews with numerous individuals, we believe returning Chris to work is the appropriate step.
In addition to his return to TV, Hardwick's name has also been restored on Nerdist, the website he founded in 2012.
"Following an internal investigation conducted with the assistance of outside employment counsel into Mr. Hardwick’s conduct while employed at Nerdist we have made the determination to restore the reference to Mr. Hardwick as a founder of Nerdist," the website said in an official statement on Friday. "Nerdist prides itself on being an inclusive company made up of a positive, diverse community of people who come together to share, celebrate, and discuss the things we love," the statement continued. "We absolutely do not tolerate discrimination, harassment, and other forms of abuse.”
Here's more on the allegations made by Dykstra:
Chris Hardwick's Name Restored to Nerdist Website After Investigation Into Abuse Allegations
Chris Hardwick's Ex-Girlfriend Jacinda Barrett Defends Him Amid Abuse Allegations
Chris Hardwick's Wife Lydia Hearst Breaks Silence Regarding Abuse Allegations