In early January of this year, Call Me By Your Name star Armie Hammer began trending on Twitter. But this time, it wasn’t down to one of his characteristic online outbursts - this was potentially far more sinister.
An anonymous account, House of Effie, posted dozens of screen grabs purporting to have been sent by Hammer, 34, to several women. The messages, which have not been verified, apparently show Hammer - who most recently starred in Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On The Basis Of Sex - talking about his darkest sexual fantasies, including BDSM and cannibalism.
The account, which has now been set to private, claimed the actor sent the messages between 2016 and 2020 - when he was still married to Criminal Minds star and mother of his two young children Elizabeth Chambers, 38.
Hammer said the messages were “bull***t”, “vicious and spurious.” After a month of silence, ex-wife Chambers responded to the scandal, writing on Instagram: “I am shocked, heartbroken, and devastated.”
Hammer was then dropped by talent agency William Morris Endeavour and according to Variety his personal publicist has also walked away. In March, the LAPD launched an investigation in to some of the allegations made against the star. And in June it was reported that Hammer had checked himself in to rehab for drug, alcohol and sex issues.
Here is everything you need to know about the Armie Hammer scandal.
How did it all start?
On January 10, Hammer began trending on Twitter. According to Page Six, the Instagram account @houseofeffie posted dozens of screenshots showing direct messages that it said Hammer had sent women from 2016 to 2020.
The messages in the screenshots, which are unverified, detailed fantasies of rape, domination, and cannibalism. Some of the messages referred to the recipient as "kitten" and another asked to drink the person's blood.
Other messages appear to show the sender telling the recipient they want to "bite pieces off” her and eat her heart. Another reads: “I am 100% a cannibal. I want to eat you. F---. That's scary to admit. I've never admitted that before."
Meanwhile, Mail Online reported that one now-deleted photo, Hammer has his own hand around his throat in a selfie, apparently imitating choking. Another now-deleted post apparently showed Hammer's hand in which a tattoo that resembles the actor’s can be seen.
What does Hammer have to say?
After the alleged messages were leaked, Hammer dropped out of two projects: the action-comedy Shotgun Wedding starring Jennifer Lopez and the upcoming Paramount+ series The Offer.
In a statement given to PA News, the actor said: "I'm not responding to these bull**** claims but in light of the vicious and spurious online attacks against me, I cannot in good conscience now leave my children for four months to shoot a film in the Dominican Republic."
"Lionsgate is supporting me in this and I'm grateful to them for that," he said.
How did his wife Elizabeth Chambers respond?
About a month after the alleged messages first surfaced, Chambers commented on a post that Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino and star Timothée Chalamet were teaming up for a new project, where cannibalism was a theme.
The Hollywood Reporter has said the story - titled Bones & All - will follow a woman "on a cross-country trip as she searches for the father she's never met in an attempt to understand why she has the urge to kill and eat the people that love her."
"No. Words." Chambers commented on celebrity site Just Jared's post.
In February, she posted on Instagram: “For weeks, I’ve been trying to process everything that has transpired. I am shocked, heartbroken, and devastated. Heartbreak aside, I am listening, and will continue to listen and educate myself on these delicate matters. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know.
“I support any victim of assault or abuse and urge anyone who has experienced this pain to seek the help she or he needs to heal.
“At this time, I will not be commenting further on this matter.
“My sole focus and attention will continue to be on our children, on my work and on healing during this incredibly difficult time.
“Thank you for all of the love and support, and thank you in advance for your continued kindness, respect, and consideration for our children and me as we find ways to move forward.”
Her post was liked by a number of her celebrity friends, including Busy Phillips who wrote: "Sending you love."
What happened next?
His accuser, named only as Effie, broke down as she detailed her allegations at a press conference, which was held by high-profile US lawyer Gloria Allred. Reading from a prepared statement, Effie, 24, said she first met Hammer on Facebook in 2016, when she was 20. “I fell in love with him instantly,” she said, but she claimed that as their relationship progressed he abused her “mentally, emotionally and sexually”.
On the alleged attack, Effie said: “During those four hours, I tried to get away and he wouldn’t let me. I thought that he was going to kill me. He then left with no concern for my wellbeing. I was completely in shock and I couldn’t believe that someone I loved did that to me. I tried so hard to justify his actions, even to the point of responding to him in a way that did not reflect my true feelings. During and since this attack, I have lived in fear of him. And for a long time I tried to dismiss his actions towards me as a twisted form of love.”
She said she was left suicidal by the alleged rape and felt “immense guilt” at not speaking out sooner. After the press conference, the LAPD said it had opened an investigation. Hammer’s lawyer Andrew Brettler described the allegations as “outrageous”. Mr Brettler released a copy of a “graphic” text message Effie allegedly sent the actor that he said “undermines and refutes” her claims.
“It was never Mr Hammer’s intention to embarrass or expose [the woman’s] fetishes or kinky sexual desires, but she has now escalated this matter to another level by hiring a civil lawyer to host a public press conference. With the truth on his side, Mr Hammer welcomes the opportunity to set the record straight.”
Mr Brettler added: “From day one, Mr Hammer has maintained that all of his interactions with [her] — and every other sexual partner of his for that matter — have been completely consensual, discussed and agreed upon in advance, and mutually participatory.”
This month, it was reported that Hammer had left the Cayman Islands - where he had spent much of the pandemic - and had checked in to a rehab facility. According to Vanity Fair, three sources confirmed to the publication the actor left on the morning of May 29. He reportedly checked into “an in-patient facility for drug, alcohol, and sex issues” on May 31.
“Everyone looks at Armie thinking that he’s had some sort of privileged life — and that must mean there were no problems in his youth and everything was peachy keen,” a friend of Hammer’s told Vanity Fair. “But that’s not necessarily the way things go. Just because you come from an upbringing where financial resources are plentiful doesn’t mean life isn’t without problems.”