Sex thrones, murder, and coercion: Bombshells from Armie Hammer docuseries House of Hammer

·8 min read
Sex thrones, murder, and coercion: Bombshells from Armie Hammer docuseries House of Hammer

The rise and fall of Armie Hammer is explored in House of Hammer, Discovery+'s docuseries that explores the allegations of sexual abuse, assault, and cannibalism against the actor, all of which he has denied.

As it turns out, Hammer comes from a lineage of troubled and violent men​, according to the docuseries​, which was released on Friday​. The three-part doc directed by Elli Hakami and Julian P. Hobbs tells the story of the Hammer men who came before Armie: great grandfather Armand Hammer, uncle Julian Hammer, and father Michael Hammer.

Just what do these men have to do with the allegations leveled against their descendant? House of Hammer offers three hours of unexpected twists and turns, featuring testimony from some key players, including Armie's aunt Casey. Below are some of the biggest bombshells from the series.

House of Hammer
House of Hammer

Discovery+ Armie Hammer in the 'House of Hammer' poster

Various women give insight into Armie Hammer's alleged violence and assault

Two women, business owner Courtney Vucekovich and artist and writer Julia Morrison, offer confessionals about their respective relationships with Hammer, which all began during the same general time, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020. Throughout their testimonies, alleged texts and direct messages on social media from Hammer were shared on screen, many of the same ones that were leaked amid the headlines last year, including "I am 100% a cannibal."

As the episodes wear on, the messages become increasingly disturbing. "You were the most intense and extreme version of that I've ever had. Raping you on your floor with a knife against you. Everything else seemed boring," one message read. Another: "You cryin and crawling away while I stalked you down your hallway was so exhilarating." During a trip with Hammer that occurred one month after he and wife Elizabeth Chambers announced their split, Vucekovich recounted Hammer having her watch the 2002 erotic black dramedy Secretary, which explored the intense relationship between a dominant lawyer (James Spader) and his submissive secretary (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Vucekovich claimed "degrading" and "belittling" occurred during that trip, but couldn't bring herself to recount it. Things took a darker turn during another trip, when an inebriated Hammer allegedly tied her up with ropes despite her voicing her discomfort. Hammer got upset when she protested, Vucekovich says. "The ropes were around your neck, your wrist, your ankles, behind your back. I had bruises... You're completely immobilized. I was closing my eyes until it ended," she says. Paige Lorenze, Hammer's ex-girlfriend, who also publicly accused him of abuse last year, is also featured via archived clip.

Bizarrely enough, Vucekovich, who connected with Lorenze after the two of them were no longer with Hammer, learned that the actor followed the same routine with Lorenze: the same love bomb messages, same road trip at the same motel, the same rewatch of Secretary. Lorenze has accused Hammer of branding her with his initials without her consent. Effie, the woman who accused Hammer of rape and other acts of violence last year, was also featured through archives, accusing Hammer of "violently" assaulting her and slamming her head against a wall.

"To me, it's obvious that Armie Hammer chose people who didn't have any experience in BDSM because It gives him an advantage to prey upon these people," Damiana Chi, a professional dominatrix and BDSM educator, says in the doc. "They're more easily coerced. They don't know what BDSM really is." The traditional motto of BDSM is safe, sane, and consensual, Chi says, noting that safety and trust are the foundation, whereas Hammer appeared to get off on fear.

A key Hammer family member, Casey, speaks out about her experiences

House of Hammer Casey Hammer in her place on set for her interview.
House of Hammer Casey Hammer in her place on set for her interview.

Discovery+ Casey Hammer in 'House of Hammer'

Among the prominent voices featured in the docuseries is Casey Hammer, the actor's aunt. Casey is estranged from her family, and the reasons why can be found in her 2015 memoir, Surviving My Birthright. She is the sister of Armie's father, Michael, and granddaughter of Armie's great grandfather Armand Hammer, the late billionaire oil tycoon with deep pockets but even deeper connections (more on that later). Casey exposes her family's deepest, darkest secrets in the series, declaring, "On the outside, we were a perfect family. But magnify Succession a million times, and it was my family."

She had a front row seat to the mayhem: Casey, who accused Armie's parents of cutting her completely out of her grandfather's will, revealed she was sexually abused by her father, the late, volatile Julian Hammer. When the allegations against her estranged nephew made headlines, Casey was not shocked. "You don't just wake up and become this dark controller, abuser," she says. "This behavior is deep rooted... every generation of my family has been involved in dark misdeeds, and it just gets worse and worse and worse. I know my grandfather had a dark side. I saw my father's dark side firsthand. And I've seen my brother's dark side. Now it's Armie Hammer."

Hammer comes from a lineage of abusive and troubled men

More so than the allegations against the Rebecca actor, the series gives deeper background on the lineage of allegedly violent and troubled Hammer men. Casey recounts witnessing her father Julian violently attack her mother while drunk, recalling seeing the blood on her mother's clothes. After her parents divorced, Casey shares stories about growing up against the backdrop of her father's meth and cocaine-fueled parties with underage girls in attendance. Her father once got away with murder, she claims, noting that her grandfather Armand paid off a prison sentence after Julian was arrested for shooting a man who owed him money.

During one party as a young child, Casey says her father, in a drunken state, had her hold up a phone book while he shot at her. At the head of the Hammer clan was, of course, Armand, head of Occidental Petroleum, and, yes, the Hammer behind Hammer Museum and Holmby Park and Armand Hammer Golf Course in Los Angeles. Armie comes from a background of deep wealth. His grandfather had ties to Prince Charles and Princess Diana, former presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, and the Soviet Union.

Portrait de l'industriel américain Armand Hammer dans son jet privé en mars 1977 à Paris, France. (Photo by BERTRAND LAFORET/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Portrait de l'industriel américain Armand Hammer dans son jet privé en mars 1977 à Paris, France. (Photo by BERTRAND LAFORET/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

BERTRAND LAFORET/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Armand Hammer in 1977

A domineering, threatening man who kept guns in his closet, Armand also had a number of mistresses who were expected to submit to his sexual demands, Casey says. Her brother Michael showed early parallels to Armand with his orgies, drug-fueled parties, and guns. Armie's father, who has been accused of funneling money from his grandfather's estate to various Christian organizations, reportedly kept a seven foot tall sex throne at the Hammer Foundation headquarters, which featured a family insignia and a hole in the seat with a cage underneath.

Armand Hammer had ties to the Soviet Union and KGB

So back to that Soviet Union connection... The story of Armand's father, Julius, is also featured in the series. A Russian emigrant, Julius became an active politician and founding member of the American Communist Party in the states after he moved to New York. The Russians utilized Julius — and, by extension, the Hammer family — to steal technology and trade secrets for the U.S. Thus, Armand became an agent of a Soviet Union, collecting information for the KGB and forging new links between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Armie Hammer's former coworker from a film set details controlling behavior

A former coworker of the actor whose face is blurred and voice altered due to fear of professional retaliation details alleged behavior in line with the abuse allegations. The two worked on a film set together. While the experiences aren't on the same level as the assault allegations, "Every story I have about him is rooted in, 'I control you because you're my employee,'" the anonymous coworker says, noting that Hammer is excellent at putting on a facade. If the coworker said no to something, Hammer would "find ways to shame me," they claim. The coworker recounts, among other stories, anecdotes about being instructed to go pick up one of Hammer's old friends at the airport while holding up a sign with a homophobic slur and being forced to receive a lap dance at a strip club despite voicing discomfort. "I just want to be helpful to people that need it," the coworker says. "There are a lot of women that have had their lives irreparably damaged by all of this."

SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 11: Actor Armie Hammer attends The 23rd Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 11, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The Critics' Choice Awards )
SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 11: Actor Armie Hammer attends The 23rd Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 11, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The Critics' Choice Awards )

Christopher Polk/Getty Armie Hammer

Casey says Hammer's father threatened her after learning of her participation in the docuseries

When Armie's father Michael learned that his sister would participate in the Discovery+ series and expose family secrets, he threatened legal action, Casey says, reading the letter that she received from her brother aloud. "Although we haven't spoken in many years, I heard the untrue, hurtful things you've recently said about our family," the letter begins. "I can no longer remain quiet and allow you to feed your thirst for notoriety at the expense of our family... if you choose to continue pretending that the stories you have invented are the truth, I will have no choice other than to pursue every legal remedy to set the record straight."

"My brother thinks he can silence me," Casey says in the series. "The way my brother is intimidating me right now through this letter and those words is exactly what my grandfather would do. I've let the Hammers control me so much my whole life. It's time to stop." She declares, "I refuse to be silenced."

House of Hammer is streaming now on Discovery+.

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content: