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Chris Hardwick Makes Tearful Return To "Talking Dead"

LOS ANGELES (CNN) - Chris Hardwick returned to hosting "Talking Dead" on Sunday after allegations from ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra that he sexually and emotionally abused her. AMC had suspended Hardwick's show while it assessed the accusations.

Five weeks later, the network cleared Hardwick to return. "We take these matters very seriously," AMC said in a statement in July. "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."

Hardwick opened Sunday's aftershow for "The Walking Dead" with an emotional speech. "I want to thank you, 'The Walking Dead' community, for all your support over these past couple months," he said. "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."

In June, 29-year-old Dykstra posted an essay on Medium in which she described an almost three-year relationship with an older celebrity, who she said imposed strict rules on her behavior. Without naming 46-year-old Hardwick she alleged that the man forbid her to have male friends, speak in public or to go out at night alone -- and that she "let him sexually assault me" on multiple occasions. "Every night, I laid there for him, occasionally in tears," she wrote.

Dykstra described her ex-boyfriend as someone who "grew from a mildly successful podcaster to a powerhouse CEO of his own company." She also said that he blacklisted her in the industry. Fans pieced together the details and quickly figured out that she was talking about Hardwick, which led to AMC suspending his show and temporarily replacing him on "Talking Dead" with actress Yvette Nicole Brown.

Hardwick was also dropped from San Diego Comic Con panels and scrubbed from the Nerdist website, which he founded.

In a statement at the time, Hardwick, who dated Dykstra from 2011 to 2014, said that their relationship was "not perfect -- we were ultimately not a good match," but he denied ever sexually assaulting her. "I'm devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur," he said. "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."

Last month, Dykstra tweeted a statement in which she said that she did not participate in the AMC investigation. "I have been adamant since I came forward with my essay that I never set out to ruin the career of the person I spoke about," she said in the statement. "I originally wrote my essay so I could move on with my life, and now I intend to do so. Thank you, again, to those who have supported me during this."

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