How ‘House of Hammer’ documentary angered Armie Hammer accuser

Weeks after intercourse crimes detectives on the Los Angeles Police Division started investigating Armie Hammer, a pair of filmmakers pitched a three-part documentary concerning the actor to a significant streaming service.

Elli Hakami and Julian Hobbs informed executives at Discovery+ that they needed to maneuver the story past the headlines. It was March 2021, and dozens of disturbing textual content message exchanges purportedly between Hammer and younger girls had been circulating on-line for the reason that starting of the 12 months. Within the messages, Hammer allegedly shared cannibalistic wishes and his obsession with erotic BDSM practices.

Girls who mentioned they’d had romantic relationships with Hammer started talking out publicly, claiming the actor had both coerced or pressured them to interact in aggressive sexual actions. It was these girls whom the administrators needed to speak to, Hakami mentioned, sharing their tales to assist “break the cycles of abuse.”

However as “House of Hammer” debuts this weekend, the girl whose claims launched the continuing LAPD investigation says the undertaking is doing extra to hurt Hammer’s alleged victims than to assist them. Effie, a 26-year-old European lady who declined to offer her final identify because of issues about harassment, mentioned in a March 2021 information convention held by her lawyer, Gloria Allred, that Hammer “violently raped” her. Hammer’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, denied Effie’s claims and mentioned his shopper’s interactions along with her “and every other sexual partner of his for that matter” had been “completely consensual, discussed and agreed upon in advance, and mutually participatory.” (Brettler didn’t reply to The Instances’ request for touch upon the docuseries.)

One month later, Effie mentioned, a producer on “House of Hammer” reached out to her to ask if she could be interviewed for the undertaking. Effie informed The Instances that she declined, responding, partly: “It is extremely inappropriate of you to exploit such a tragic, vulnerable time in many people’s lives, with no regard whatsoever for our healing process and privacy.”

Courtney Vucekovich is the one lady who had a bodily relationship with Hammer who participated in “House of Hammer.”

(Talos Movies)

Effie is the one lady who has publicly alleged that Hammer raped her. She began sharing her story through her Instagram account, @houseofeffie, in early 2021, prompting different girls to reveal their very own experiences with Hammer. Paige Lorenze and Courtney Vucekovich, two of Hammer’s former girlfriends, have mentioned in interviews that Hammer satisfied them to take part in BDSM actions that they later mentioned made them really feel unsafe. Lorenze claims Hammer carved an “A” into her pores and skin utilizing a knife and urged her to get her ribs eliminated so he might eat them. Vucekovich — the one topic to look within the Discovery+ collection who had a bodily relationship with Hammer — declined to disclose the extent of Hammer’s alleged misconduct on digital camera.

Although she didn’t take part in “House of Hammer,” although, Effie’s expertise is detailed totally within the collection. Screenshots that she posted on her Instagram account are proven extensively, as is a clip of the 2021 press convention by which, by tears, she alleged that Hammer raped her over 4 hours in April 2017 as she “tried to get away but he wouldn’t let me.”

Effie declined to be interviewed by The Instances concerning the docuseries, citing the continuing LAPD investigation. Greg Risling, a spokesperson for the L.A. County district’s lawyer’s workplace, mentioned on Thursday {that a} “specially assigned prosecutor” is at present working with the police on the Hammer inquiry.

“Once law enforcement has completed their investigation and submits the case to our office,” Risling mentioned, “we will conduct an evaluation and file criminal charges that are supported by the evidence.”

Effie did, nevertheless, present a press release to The Instances about “House of Hammer.” “The way they’ve been exploiting my trauma is disgusting,” she mentioned. “When I keep screaming ‘no’ and they keep going, saying they don’t need my permission, they remind me of Armie.”

Effie additionally mentioned that Allred didn’t inform her that she was interviewed for the manufacturing. Allred mentioned she couldn’t reply to Effie’s declare due to attorney-client privilege, however mentioned in an e mail that “statements that I have made on behalf of clients have been made because the statements were consistent with our representation, were authorized either explicitly or implicitly, and were made because I believed that the statements were in the client’s best interests.”

An American businessman attends a gala with British royals

At a proper L.A. gala in 1988, Sarah, Duchess of York, and her husband, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, proper, are joined by American businessmen Armand Hammer, entrance left, and Lodwrick Cook dinner, rear, middle.

(Bob Riha Jr/Getty Photographs)

However “House of Hammer” isn’t nearly Armie. The collection argues that troubled males and unsavory conduct are a generations-long sample of the Hammer dynasty, beginning with Armand Hammer, Armie’s great-grandfather.

Armand, finest generally known as the late chief govt of Occidental Petroleum, based the Hammer Museum and had shut ties to Prince Charles and Presidents Nixon and Reagan. In L.A., the businessman’s identify can nonetheless be discovered on a constructing at LACMA, a gallery contained in the Petersen Automotive Museum and at a Holmby Hills golf course. However a 1996 biography of Armand explored his alleged unlawful political marketing campaign donations, Soviet espionage and repeated infidelity.

In 1955, the New York Each day Information reported that Armand’s son, Julian, informed cops he “shot and killed a pal after a champagne-splashed argument over an old gambling debt”; fees in opposition to Julian had been later dismissed. Many years later, in 2015, Julian’s daughter, Casey, wrote in a memoir that her father sexually molested her when she was a lady. Casey — whose brother, Michael, is Armie’s father — mentioned she has since been excommunicated from the household. (Casey Hammer seems in and served as a guide on “House of Hammer.”)

Hakami and Hobbs spoke with The Instances about what they consider Armie Hammer discovered from the lads in his household, their response to Effie’s claims and their beliefs about whether or not or not the actor is a harmful predator.

Many ladies got here ahead with claims in opposition to Armie Hammer in 2021, however solely two are on this undertaking: Courtney Vucekovich and Julia Morrison, who allegedly messaged with Armie however by no means met him. Why is that?

Hakami: An important factor once we strategy survivors, victims, alleged victims — now we have to be satisfied that they’re prepared to talk. After we we spoke to Casey and Courtney, we had many, many conversations with them at size. And we acknowledged that they had been in a spot the place they had been able to share their tales in a manner that was going to be empowering and never regressive to them. We needed it to be cathartic, empowering and never one thing that’s going to be detrimental. They had been coming ahead with the motivation to make clear pink flags that occur inside abusive relationships.

Hobbs: There was a course of by which we needed to vet individuals who got here ahead with tales. We needed to double supply. We’ve chosen to not embody some tales that we couldn’t again up. The individuals who finally are within the movie are those who legitimately have a narrative to inform. We weren’t attempting to do a survey of victims. We are attempting to hyperlink present-day actions of Armie Hammer again to a lineage of this dynastic household and the way they function by energy and privilege.

Why didn’t you interview Effie?

Hobbs: Effie is the one one in our movie who has a standing [investigation] in opposition to Armie Hammer. So I believe it was an editorial determination to permit that to play out and never become involved in one thing that the LAPD continues to be investigating.

Poster with photo of a man and words "House of Hammer"

The poster for “House of Hammer,” a brand new docuseries concerning the actor Armie Hammer and his household.

(Discovery+)

Why did you select to incorporate Effie’s screenshots and press convention materials within the undertaking?

Hobbs: There’s all forms of legal guidelines round materials and using materials. And when she posted on a public discussion board … her allegations in opposition to Armie Hammer enter into the general public discourse, proper? In order that’s been coated by quite a few retailers. And that [press conference clip] has been coated by quite a few retailers. So now you don’t need to get permission.

However, I believe what’s critically vital is that simply because you are able to do one thing doesn’t imply you must do one thing. And what you see in our movie is though Effie wasn’t there in individual being interviewed, she’s clearly posited within the movie because the match that lit the fireplace. And when that fireside was lit, that’s when Courtney determined to come back ahead. That’s when folks actually turned infected. So I believe in connecting the timeline of occasions, she suits extra on this timeline of the unfolding scandal — her coming ahead was a significant second.

Are you upset that she has come out in opposition to the collection?

Hobbs: Should you monitor her, that’s the best way she conducts her social media presence, and we don’t wish to say, “You cannot do this.” She has a proper to do what she desires to do. The people who find themselves contributors within the movie are very pleased with the work that they’ve completed in it. They’re doing press for it. For them, it was a very good expertise.

[Effie]‘s been vocal that she thinks that making any form of media out of these events is somewhat problematic. As filmmakers, we don’t take that view. We really feel we even have an obligation to inform the tales.

Should you had been to cease making movies as a result of somebody mentioned they didn’t need a movie being made, you’ll by no means make a movie. The truth will not be everybody will get onboard movies. That being mentioned, I believe what you must be is ethically on the proper facet of how the affairs are carried out. It’s a must to be open and clear about what’s occurring with the movie, and you must be inclusive.

Some critics have argued that Armie Hammer has been unfairly kink-shamed. What do you make of these claims?

Hobbs: We’ve a BDSM professional who lays out some info which, fairly frankly, I used to be not conscious of. There are particular guidelines of play, and that sexual conduct, which is completely authorized and truthful, nonetheless has guidelines that apply. And it does appear [according to the allegations made by Vucekovich and Lorenze] that these guidelines had been transgressed by Armie in ways in which I believe folks will discover disturbing.

Is it unlawful? Is it not? That’s for another person to determine, however it’s actually alarming. And his place as a robust Hollywood actor coming from a robust household, how he was capable of perform some of these issues throughout years and years and but it by no means got here to gentle — he had a twin persona. He was a beloved actor with a household and was carrying Time’s Up [buttons] on the awards reveals. However he did have a secret life within the bed room that appears very transgressive, as a minimum. And when you consider the folks in our movie, [it was] very damaging to them each bodily and emotionally.

Hakami: When there’s two consenting adults, you may have a really wholesome BDSM relationship — there’s little question about that. However had been the protocols which might be set out in BDSM being utilized in a option to have a wholesome, consensual relationship, or had been they being manipulated to place any person in a state of affairs that was abusive and hurtful? That’s what we’re right here.

Did you uncover proof that he truly engaged in cannibalism?

Hobbs: I imply, he carved his initials with a knife into Paige. We weren’t informed the whole lot that occurred to Courtney, and we all know what Effie’s public statements are, that are full-on rape. These are unproven, however these are the accusations.

Among the girls who spoke out in opposition to Armie say they participated in conduct they didn’t object to in the mean time however later discovered problematic. How do you assume that form of conduct suits into discussions of consent?

Hobbs: You see an escalation of conduct that began in a really romantic, seductive manner. This man’s a really good-looking man and he’s a really well-known film star. And he’s discovering folks on the web, and it’s bringing them in and it’s lovey-dovey. After which, when issues start to go in a barely totally different path, you hear Paige and also you hear Courtney saying, “I didn’t feel comfortable with this, but maybe it’s OK.” And that’s the place you start to enter into the grey space. However the repetitive nature of this, that inside weeks or days after Courtney is eliminated, it’s being repeated with Paige and that you just see Instagram posts with bruises throughout, I believe there’s room to query whether or not that’s kinky and consensual or whether or not there’s another dynamics at play right here. That’s what’s put ahead within the movie for folks to watch and attain their very own choices about.

A woman with short grey hair stares into a camera

Casey Hammer, Armie’s aunt, says within the docuseries that many males within the Hammer dynasty engaged in dangerous conduct.

(Talos Movies)

How a lot do you assume Armie’s household pedigree and film star standing performed a job in his relationships with girls?

Hakami: One of many issues that was extremely difficult and intimidating for folks to come back ahead with their tales is that they knew that they had been developing in opposition to individuals who have publicists or different technique of spinning the story, suppressing the story. That was positively one thing that we did hear, which is that they had been such a robust and influential household, they might make issues go away with cash.

Hobbs: They felt manipulated, proper? And then you definately look into the household lineage and Armand Hammer is the grasp manipulator. Most likely the grasp manipulator of the twentieth century. He had a totally self-mythologized persona that he was an incredible diplomat, he was an incredible entrepreneur, he gave away 1000’s of {dollars}, he had an incredible artwork assortment. However all that was a tactic he used to seal off crimes and misdemeanors each within the boardroom and within the bed room. And that discovered conduct acquired handed down by 4 generations of Hammer.

So Armie Hammer is a really specific individual. He wasn’t only a good man who needed to have kinky intercourse. He comes from a household the place the hallmark is the division between the general public and the non-public. Armand’s large commerce was that when you have a secret on somebody, you’ve energy over them and you may hold your personal secrets and techniques secret. And it labored for 4 generations, till Armie got here alongside.

One can speculate that gave Armie the sensation that he was invincible. You take a look at the kind of characters he performs in “The Social Network” and “Call Me by Your Name.” … Fincher picked him as a result of he got here from the identical breed because the Winklevoss twins: Energy. Privilege. Wealth. Entry. And “Call Me by Your Name,” he’s an older man who’s having a bootleg relationship with a youthful man.

You referred to as Armie’s conduct “learned” — how a lot do you assume was nature versus nurture on this case?

Hobbs: I don’t know if I purchase into, like, “The Bad Seed” — that it was genetic. But it surely was so enforced to the purpose that Casey acquired kicked out of the household by her personal brother, Armie’s father. You see these images the place Casey’s there, and Armie knew her up till he was 7 years previous. All of a sudden, she’s erased from the household — that form of energy coup d’etat transfer. So anyone witnessing that as an 8-year-old boy is each going to watch, study and be taught that that is how energy works.