From silver spoons to accusations of sexual assault. The chilling allegations against disgraced actor Armie Hammer and his chilling family history are the focus of a Discovery+ documentary that premiered Friday.
The “House of Hammer” trilogy features Hammer’s accusers, as well as the sister of Hammer’s dad, businessman Michael Hammer, discussing an alleged history of abuse in her family.
Casey Hammer, who self-published a book titled “Surviving My Birthright” in 2015, compares her family to the greedy, dysfunctional Royce at the center of HBO’s “Succession” in a “House of Hammer” trailer. “On the outside, we were a perfect family,” he says, “but I magnify ‘Succession’ a million times, and it was my family.”
Here’s everything you need to know about Hammer and his downfall.
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Who is Armie Hammer?
The California native comes from a well-to-do family. Hammer, 36, is the great-grandson of Armand Hammer, for whom he is named. Armie’s namesake amassed a fortune of $200 million, according to Forbes, through his business activities and investment in Occidental Petroleum.
“My whole life was a long, pressing conversation about the family I represented,” Armie Hammer told Entertainment Weekly in 2012. “When you walk out the door, you represent us. You have to dress well and take care of your hair. combed.”
Hammer told the magazine that his parents “threatened to cut me off” when he revealed his plans to drop out of Los Angeles high school to become an actor, but claimed he was “not supported by (family money) in any way.” He insisted he and then-wife Elizabeth Chambers, founder of Bird Bakery, were supporting their family on their own.
Hammer and Chambers, 40, separated in 2020 after 10 years of marriage. They are parents to daughter Harper, 7, and son Ford, 5.
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What is Armie Hammer famous for?
After landing bit parts on TV series like ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and The CW’s “Gossip Girl,” Hammer’s breakout role came in 2010’s “The Social Network.” He played the dual roles of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, twins who accused Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea for the platform.
Hammer has continued to work steadily, gaining arguably the most fame for 2017’s “Call Me By Your Name,” an Oscar-nominated film depicting the romance between Hammer’s Oliver and 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet).
Hammer last starred in the film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, which was released in February. A year earlier, Hammer had retired from his agency, William Morris Endeavor, following the allegations. Hammer also pulled out of the Jennifer Lopez film “Shotgun Wedding,” “Billion Dollar Spy” and the Paramount+ series “The Offer,” about the making of “The Godfather,” in the wake of the controversy.
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What is Armie Hammer accused of?
Courtney Vucekovich, who says she dated Hammer for a few months in 2020, opened up about her history with the actor in a January 2021 interview with the New York Post’s Page Six.
Throughout their relationship, Vucekovich (who appears in “House of Hammer”) claimed that Hammer manipulated and abused her: “He kind of captures you and while he’s charming he treats you to these things that are darker and heavier and consuming. When I say consuming, I mean mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, just everything. “
After the couple split, Vucekovich says she entered a 30-day partial hospitalization program for those suffering from PTSD and trauma.
Paige Lorenze spoke to Page Six that same month about her alleged abusive relationship with Hammer. She said she and Hammer dated for four months in 2020 and that she is seeking therapy as she processes the psychological effects of their relationship.
“There were red flags throughout the relationship,” he said. “I guess I put them to the side and it made me feel so confident sometimes.”
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In March 2021, another woman, identified only as Effie, came forward, accompanied by her lawyer Gloria Allred, to accuse the movie star of raping and beating her over a four-hour period in Los Angeles in April 2017. Local police said they were investigating the allegation.
“He abused me mentally, emotionally and sexually,” Effie said, crying as she appeared at a news conference with Allred.
During the alleged assault, Effie said Hammer “repeatedly slammed my head against a wall, bruising my face. He also committed other acts of violence against me that I did not consent to.”
Hammer, who has vehemently denied all reports of his alleged crimes and unconventional sexual practices, responded through his attorney, Andrew Bretler, who issued a statement at the time saying that Effie had sent Hammer texts denying the “outrageous her claims”.
“As recently as July 18, 2020, (Effie) sent graphic texts to Mr. Hammer telling him what he wanted to do to her,” Brettler’s statement said. “Mr. Hammer responded by making it clear that he did not want to have that kind of relationship with her.”
Los Angeles Officer Rosario Cervantes told USA TODAY in an Aug. 28 email that “the case involving Armie Hammer is still ongoing and has not yet been presented to the district attorney.”
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Why didn’t Effie appear in the ‘House of Hammer’ documentary?
Effie is against ‘House of Hammer’ documentaries, claiming the show continues to ‘exploit’ her trauma.
“It is extremely inappropriate of you to take advantage of such a tragic, vulnerable time in so many people’s lives with absolutely no regard for our healing process and privacy,” she told the Los Angeles Times in a statement. “The way they exploit my trauma is disgusting. When I keep screaming ‘no’ and they keep saying they don’t need my permission, they remind me of Armie.”
Effie’s lawyer, Allred, sat in on an interview with the production without informing her, Effie claimed. Allred did not confirm the validity of the claim to USA TODAY, but offered: “The statements I have made on behalf of clients have been made because the statements were consistent with our representation, were authorized either expressly or impliedly, and were made because I believed the statements were in the interest of the client”.
“House of Hammer” director Julian Hobbs told the Los Angeles Times production that he chose to go ahead with the project without Effie because they didn’t want to “get involved in something that the LAPD is still investigating.”
As for the inclusion of her story, Hobbs said, “We feel we have an obligation to tell the stories. If you stopped making movies because someone said they didn’t want a movie to be made, you’d never make a movie.”
Is Armie Hammer a cannibal?
Hammer’s accusers say he talked about devouring their body parts.
“He told me he wanted to break my rib and barbecue and eat it,” Vucekovic told Page Six. “He says, ‘I want to take a bite out of you.’ If I had a small cut on my hand, he would suck it or lick it. That’s about as weird as we get.’
In an interview with Vanity Fair as part of a deep dive into Hammer and his family tree in March 2021, Lorenz said “he would say things to me…weird things…like ‘I want to eat your ribs.'”
“The scariest part of it is that I kind of loved it,” she added. “I would let him do anything. He had a certain power over me.”
Contributors: Naledi Ushe, Maria Puente, David Oliver and Charles Trepany
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Armie Hammer Controversy Explained, From Cannibalism to Documentary