When several women came forward in 2021 accusing actor Armie Hammer of sexual assault, aunt Casey Hammer, who says that Armie’s behavior is typical for the men in her family, was not shocked. The discovery+ docuseries House of Hammer, begins with the rise and fall of Armie Hammer, before examining how the bad behavior of men in his family helped to shape his path. The family's patriarch Armand Hammer, Armies’s great-grandfather, made a fortune running the oil company Occidental Petroleum in the 70s and 80s. Casey believes that the constant fight for power and approval tore her family apart, and explains that the Hammer empire was a million times more dysfunctional than the Roy family from the HBO show Succession.
“Women in my family were disposable, we were ornaments. I was told that as long as I behaved and looked pretty and said the right things and didn't embarrass my family, that I would be taken care of for the rest of my life. So that's basically how from my grandfather down, they viewed women," Casey says.
Over the course of three episodes, viewers get to peek behind the veil of privilege and power, where each Hammer man engaged in a wide array of illicit behaviors void of consequences. There were lies, secrets, cocaine fueled parties, domestic abuse, and a rotating cast of young women who were treated like objects.
“How scary and sad for the victims that came forward. And how brave of them to speak, because we all know social media and we all know the haters and how that can gain momentum and it's terrifying. No one should feel isolated and alone, and I'm here to let people know you're heard, and I believe you, and your story is impactful,” says Casey.
- You just don't wake up and become this dark controller.
CASEY HAMMER: I've let the Hammers control me my whole life. It's time to stop. I refuse to be silenced.
I'm about to reveal the dark, twisted secrets of the Hammer family.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Casey, the docuseries "House of Hammer" begins with the sexual assault allegations against your nephew Armie Hammer. Were you surprised when you heard the allegations, especially the ones that included fantasies of cannibalism?
CASEY HAMMER: I wasn't shocked. And that's based on my experiences growing up in the world of Hammer. You don't just wake up one morning and become a monster. It's a learned behavior. Yes, Armie brought the spotlight on it, but then it delves deeper into the layering and the multigenerational aspects of my family, men that were abusive.
Women in my family were disposable. We were ornaments. That's basically too much, from my grandfather down, they viewed women. Based on my experience, I saw it from one generation to another. And it just gets worse and worse and worse. That's why I wasn't shocked.
Magnify "Succession," a million times, and it was my family.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: This docuseries chronicles the men in your family and the very dark secrets they kept. Your grandfather, Armand Hammer, built an oil empire. And in the docuseries, you say that your family was a million times worse than the show "Succession," which is saying something. So how much did that grasping for power impact your family?
CASEY HAMMER: I mean, you had my grandfather, my father, my brother. It was all vying for control, all vying to get my grandfather's attention. It was more for show on the outside than it was to be behind the doors and be a loving, happy-go-lucky family unit. It just wasn't happening.
My father was in and out of mental institutions. And things needed to be covered up. He murdered someone. And my grandfather turned that in and made it self-defense and covered it up. Back then, my grandfather had a lot of money. So he could control what was reported and what wasn't. So as you see from the docuseries, he hosted parties, hosted royalty, heads of state, presidents, movie stars.
It was a who's who in Hollywood. Every few months, there was a black tie event. So you saw my grandfather control the narrative in all aspects of his life, our life. And he got away with it.
Again, to have men that have money and privilege and power be able to manipulate women and control them and not be held accountable, it's criminal. And now it's like, shine the light on it. It's like the MeToo movement.
- Once Courtney came forward, other women started coming forward.
- I was closing my eyes until it ended.
CASEY HAMMER: Fortunately, someone was brave enough to come forward and then another one and then another one. And as you see from "House of Hammer," their focus was on the victims. How scary and sad for the victims that came forward and how brave of them to speak. I'm here to let people know you're heard, and I believe you. And your story is impactful.
BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: And Casey, you share your story too. And it's so powerful. I know this is the first time you're sharing that your father sexually abused you as a child. Where did you find the strength to finally come forward and speak out about that?
CASEY HAMMER: I may not understand how I got to this point. But I know that every experience I lived through molded me into the person I am today. I can't change the way my mother felt about me in admitting that she just hated me. I can't change the way my father felt about me. I can't change the way they almost killed me a million times. And I can't change the way that I felt about wanting to not be present.
And in my book, I do detail about taking my life or just the pressure. And now, thanks, to the producers, "House of Hammer" will remind me of everything I've endured to be sitting here as a survivor, as a whole person.
It's starting a conversation that bad behavior is not OK. And you have a choice. And you should be free to speak out without repercussions or threats just in general.