Graphic Content Warning
Over the past two weeks, cinephiles have watched the career of beloved “Call Me By Your Name” actor Armie Hammer unravel as numerous accounts of alleged sexual harassment and misconduct have been reported.
Since the allegations surfaced, Hammer has remained largely out of the public eye, with his only response being a denouncement of the DM’s authenticity via Twitter, where he stated that he is: “Not responding to these bullshit claims.” To maintain a low profile, the 34-year-old actor has dropped out of his role in Jennifer Lopez’s new film, “Shotgun Wedding.”
While the public has become familiar in witnessing the derailing careers of various actors’ due to sexual misconduct, Hammer’s case is unique. In numerous Instagram DM’s, leaked by a past partner of his, @houseofeffie, Hammer allegedly expressed interest in cannibalizing his lovers, asking if he could “cut off one of [their] toes and keep it with [him] in [his] pocket,” and claiming he is “100 % a cannibal.”
The Instagram account @houseofeffie has posted accounts from women who experienced emotional or physical abuse in their encounters with Hammer, some of which allegedly occurred while he was married to his estranged wife, Elizabeth Chambers.
Paige Lorenze, a past partner of Hammer’s, revealed in an interview with Page Six that Hammer used to coerce her into playing along with his dark fantasies, going as far as carving the letter “A” into her skin using a knife.
In her own words, Hammer, “Eased me into darker and darker things… he manipulated me. Consent is really complex, and saying yes to something does not negate the trauma you might be burdened with after the fact.”
Coutney Vucekovich, Hammer’s ex-girlfriend, also came forward with similar sadistic expressions on his behalf.
“He said to me he wants to break my rib and barbecue and eat it,” Vucekovich said.
Although many were shocked to discover that Hammer wanted to barbeque his partner’s ribs, kinks of this nature are not uncommon amongst the B.D.S.M. community. Hammer’s uniqueness, however, which has been largely overlooked, lies in his projection of these desires onto partners who were either non-consenting or misled by his words.
Zenobia Taylor, a Seattle-based sex educator, commented on the “toxic” relationship between Hammer and his partners.
“As someone who actually knows the boundaries of B.D.S.M., the things that are most disturbing are when he is forcing his perversions upon people who don’t share them with them, which also seems to be part of what he gets a kick out of. Forcing women to see this, whether it’s mentally or physically…that’s where the real concern lies,” Taylor said.
Being a sex educator, Taylor has seen her fair share of kinks. While she was not surprised by Hammer’s dark desires, she expressed concerns surrounding his approach.
“I think kink is really born out of taboos and out of what are considered ‘shadowy desires,’” Taylor said. “With any sexual relationship, or physical relationship with two people, there’s a lot of ways to practice it really safely, and there’s a lot of ways in which it can become really dangerous.”
In Taylor’s opinion, no matter how hyper sensationalized Hammer’s kinks are in the media, his sexual misconduct is a more pressing issue. She commented on the articles she read about Hammer, which focused primarily on the fetish rather than the harassment.
“I think that those articles are pretty provocative, and I think that there is such a massive misunderstanding of kink and B.D.S.M., that when people read [the title]…Everything else goes away and they’re like ‘I can’t believe people are into that!’ and so they’re totally derailed from the actual conversation at hand, which is all the different ways in which he was violating these peoples’ trust and boundaries on a day to day basis— not just on big crazy requests of knife play.”
Hammer’s verbiage and manipulative rhetoric may speak to a larger issue in Hollywood. Ernie Ribera, a viral Tik Toker who has been reporting on the Armie Hammer drama under the username @ernieribera, commented on the issue.
“His great grandfather owned Arm & Hammer, a huge manufacturing company, so he’s been rich his entire life, and that’s what happens with these rich people…they’re always looking for the next level of pleasure, the next level of something…I think it’s obviously along the same lines of what’s been happening the past few years with the Fox News scandal, and Harvey Weinstein… it’s all these people that are in really high positions of power.”
Ribera argues that the nature of the allegations display the power imbalance that many of the recent sexual assault allegations against other celebrities have also exposed. In this case specifically, the glamorization of cannibalism hides the gravity of the abuse claims, an important aspect when honoring the lived experiences of sexual assault survivors.