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What the HELL Is Going on With Armie Hammer???

armie hammer in a turtleneck

We’ve delayed talking about this long enough, but finally, we have to dig into the question that’s haunted the internet and entertainment for most of 2021: just what is going on with Armie Hammer. There’s a lot of rumors and allegations going on against the star of The Lone Ranger, and it’s hard to sort out what’s just alleged and what we know for a fact. But we’re here to help.

Armie Hammer has been somewhat of a mystery to Hollywood for years. He’s the son of an incredibly wealthy family, with enough old money pedigree that his first big magazine appearance was in a piece called “Fortune’s Children” profiling young heiresses, nobility, and trust funds bros in Vanity Fair, where he appeared alongside folks like Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. What Armie Hammer exuded was a privilege and the kind of untouchability that only a very rich, handsome white guy could have.

Hammer’s career has been bumpy and marked with more failures than breakout successes. As a great piece from BuzzFeed in fall of 2017 posited, Hollywood tried to “make Armie Hammer happen” for 10 years. He at one point seemed destined for super-stardom in The Lone Ranger, but that flopped spectacularly. He was somewhat tarnished in the sexual assault/rape controversy over The Birth of a Nation‘s director Nate Parker. But in recent years, he attempted to reinvent himself as a serious actor in indies like Call Me By Your Name and it was going fine, despite some rumors and whisperings that he was pretty kinky in his personal life.

There’s nothing wrong with consensual kink, and so when Hammer was caught liking bondage and BDSM posts on social media in 2017, it was mainly meme’d and even gave some personality to a man who otherwise seemed like another bland, rich white actor. But things were not great for Hammer in 2020. He separated from his wife Elizabeth Chambers in July, and the divorce and child custody proceedings were predictably messy, especially as Hammer spent the summer of 2020 working construction on a hotel owned by his friend Ashton Ramsey near Joshua Tree national park. Strange, but Hammer has always been a bit “eccentric.”

But then 20201 happened and things got truly weird, to say the least.

In January of this year, alleged DMs between Hammer and multiple women were shared online, and the content was more than kinky. The Instagram account that shared the messages, HouseOfEffie, has gone private since then. But the damage was done. There was BDSM talk, kink, but also discussion of drinking blood and cutting off toes. “‘If I wanted to cut off one of your toes and keep it with me in my pocket so I always had a piece of you in my possession?” one alleged message read. And that caused a flurry of memes, shock, and very bad press for Hammer. One former girlfriend went on the record with the New York Post, and confirmed he was allegedly into blood, biting, and, perhaps most troubling was emotionally abusive and manipulative. Another ex called Hammer out as abusive sexually.

This highlights the one thing that became lost and forgotten amidst all the jokes and tittering: serious allegations of abuse. The allegations against Hammer from January aren’t just that he was into blood and mock (we hope) cannibalism, but that he failed to follow correct BDSM etiquette and seriously hurt partners. It was alleged that some women ended up in the ER and at least one had to go to a rehab clinic because of the injuries. These and other allegations that Hammer was abusive are very troubling.

Hammer for his part said “I’m not responding to these bullshit claims,” he said in a statement, according to Variety, calling the social media accusations “vicious and spurious online attacks against me.” But Pandora’s box was already open. Amidst this “social media scandal” things began to go very badly for Armie Hammer. So badly that it became assumed fact for many that the DMs and allegations probably legitimate. And possibly they were only the tip of the iceberg.

Hammer was forced to exit two projects: a Jennifer Lopez RomCom and a TV series about the making of The Godfather. But the most troubling sign came last week when he was dropped by his agents and representation at WME. You have to be pretty damn toxic for a Hollywood agent to not want to work with you.

Last week, another high-profile star who has worn his darkness and “kink” on his sleeve even more so than Hammer was accused of multiple instances of rape, abuse, imprisonment, and grooming: Brian Warner, aka Marilyn Manson. Following those allegations, much like Hammer, Warner has been dropped from his label, upcoming projects, and representation. But the two men are both, if these allegations are true, emblematic of a much larger problem.

Men can still abuse, hurt, manipulate and even rape and imprison women with impunity if they have enough money and power. These abuses, many of them perpetrated under the guide of kink but in no way in line with the actual “safe, sane, consensual” mantra of the greater kink community, are just an excuse for these powerful, screwed up men to get off on hurting women. It’s terrifying and upsetting. No one should be allowed to get away with abusing this many women for this many years, but it still happens. It happens even among us regular folks because domestic and sexual abuse is toxic and insidious.

What will happen next with Armie Hammer? Are the skeletons in his closet literal or is it just that no one wants to be associated with a guy who all the memes say is a cannibal? We don’t know. But what is clear is that we as a society have failed women because men with power can still abuse them, and that’s the real crime.

(image: Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.