hammer house is a fast-paced new docuseries that tells the story of actor Armie Hammer and the sordid and sprawling history of his wealthy family. The Discovery+ series comes more than a year after multiple women filed sexual misconduct claims against the actor. The women accused him of physical violence, sharing fantasies of cannibalism and psychological manipulation. A woman, named Effie, accused him of sexual assault; this claim is still being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department. No charges have been filed against Hammer, who denies the allegations, though he has been out of a job in Hollywood since the story first broke in 2021.

The series, which premieres September 2 exclusively on Discovery+ and features Armie’s aunt Casey Hammer among its producers, seeks to “reveal the dark and twisted secrets of the Hammer family.” As Casey Hammer tells TIME, “With Succession, people can say, ‘My God, it’s such a powerful series and the acting is fabulous,’ but it’s all made up. Everything is written. But I’m here to say my family is real and it’s a million times worse.” In all three episodes, Hammer’s ex, Courtney Vucekovich, details her experience with him for the first time; Casey Hammer discovers the misdeeds that the men in his family supposedly tried to bury; and Hammer’s web is unraveled in great detail.

While the series plays into many viewers’ interest in the lewd details of the story, little of the information it offers is new. Much of what is shared is drawn from Casey’s 2015 book, as well as a book written about Armie’s great-grandfather, Armand Hammer. Instead of telling the story chronologically, the series jumps between decades and the different men in the Hammer family, attempting to connect her back to Armie, though not always seamlessly or seamlessly.

However, what the series uncovers will no doubt be of interest to those who watched the saga unfold with keen interest last year. Here’s what you need to know about Armie and her family’s legacy.

Who is Armie Hammer and why is there a documentary series about him?

Hammer is an actor who publicly fell out of favor in 2021 after several women who claimed to have had negative sexual experiences with him came forward to tell their stories. His breakout role was as the Winklevoss twins in 2010. La red social. After that film, Hammer took on leading roles in The man from UNCLE and Luca Guadagnino Call me by your name opposite Timotheé Chalamet, with many of his roles fitting into his pretty rich-kid personality. The success of the latter launched his career and prepared him for roles opposite Jennifer Lopez in forced marriage and in The offer, a series on making The Godfather.

But in January 2021, an anonymous Instagram account surfaced with screenshots of what purportedly were Hammer’s texts, evolving from some potentially embarrassing issues to darker hints about situations where there may be non-consent. After the allegations began to unfold in greater detail and Effie came forward in March 2021 accusing Hammer of rape, Hammer walked away from the unfinished projects of him. He was also cut from his agency, CAA. (In 2020, before all of this happened, he announced that he and his wife Elizabeth Chambers, with whom he has two children, were divorcing.)

hammer house It is not the first time that women have spoken about some of these accusations, so it may be less interesting for those who have followed the story from the beginning. Many of the details of the experiences the women claimed to have had with Hammer were based on the limited evidence they shared on social media. The docuseries gave them the opportunity to speak at length in emotional testimonials about what they say they endured, while Armie’s aunt Casey argues that her nephew’s behavior has been seen within her family for decades.

What do we learn about Armie Hammer in the docuseries?

One of the most revealing parts of hammer house is that Armie allegedly did not adhere to the rules of the BDSM community. In the community, dominants and submissives engage in a wide range of activities agreed upon by two consenting adults. The documentary purports that Hammer shared his fantasies and forced women into awkward situations where they felt they couldn’t say no. In the BDSM community, it is standard to have anticipatory conversations between a dom and a submissive about boundaries, limits, and what each person is comfortable with. One of Hammer’s accusers, Courtney Vucekovich, spoke at length about her relationship and how there was little to no discussion of Armie’s proclivities beforehand.

Vucekovich talks in the first episode about a desert getaway she says he invited her on, during which an event happened that “usually people talk about beforehand, but we don’t talk about it.” Vucekovich doesn’t elaborate on exactly what happened, but she says she caused him so much emotional distress that she checked herself into a rehab facility. After Hammer and Vucekovich stopped seeing each other, he began dating a woman named Paige Lorenze and took her on the same desert getaway. Vucekovich also noticed bruises all over Lorenze’s body in photos he posted on Instagram.

Who is Casey Hammer and how does he fit into this story?

Casey is the sister of Armie’s father, Michael. She herself published a book, Surviving my birthright, about the family in 2015. The memoir details alleged misdeeds committed by the men of the Hammer family, who came to amass a large fortune thanks to Armand’s dealings as CEO of Occidental Petroleum. Casey is the only female born in the immediate family, which she says brought her own set of problems. “I wanted to be able to tell my story and help people heal instead of watching my nephew implode and self-destruct,” she tells TIME.

In the docuseries, Casey talks about how her father abused her mother and the two eventually divorced. She says her grandfather Armand helped her father Julian “destroy” her mother in court and that a judge decided Julian would only pay “$200 a month in child support” despite being a man of great means. economic. Casey, then a teenager, didn’t visit her father for two years until her mother finally allowed her to, and found herself in the middle of one of his lavish parties filled with cocaine, alcohol, and various young women, as young as 16 or 17 years old, says Casey.

His brother, Michael, attended these parties organized by his father. She says that he was surrounded by young women who were “impressionable” and “would do anything they said,” leading her to the observation that “women were disposable in the Hammer family.” She claims that this feeling was passed on to the entire Hammer family and eventually passed on to her nephew.

The Hammer Family Legacy

The furthest back in the Hammer family timeline in the docuseries is Armie’s great-great-grandfather, Julius Hammer. Julius was a Russian immigrant who came to the United States in 1875 and is credited with being the founder of the American Communist Party. In the docuseries, Joseph Finder of the Harvard Russian Research Center says that the Russians funneled money through the Hammer family to fund the Communist Party to “steal technology and trade secrets from the United States.”

When his son was born, Julius decided to name him after the communist party symbol: Armand Hammer was an acronym for “arm and hammer.” When Armand came of age, he took over “what his father had built [in Russia]”, says Edward Jay Epstein, who wrote a book about Armand. Finder describes his role during this time as a “money launderer, a courier of funds that were funneled into Soviet espionage.”

“Behind every great fortune there is a great crime,” says Epstein. “Certainly behind the Hammer family, there was a lot of great crime.”

According to an exhibition in vanity fair, it is not just a penchant for criminal activity but a certain attitude towards women that can also be traced back to this branch of the family tree. Armand reportedly controlled at least one of her mistresses and convinced her to submit to bedroom preferences that were not comfortable for her. His grandson Michael also reportedly had tendencies that veered toward perversion, with a memorable “sexual throne” described in the vanity fair history.

All this mixed with a tense family dynamic. Armand, who came to the United States in the 1930s at a time of palpable contempt for communism, tried to distance himself from his Russian wife, Olga, and his son Julian, even going so far as to take a paternity test. This sense of fostered contempt that the docuseries asserts worked its way into Julian’s relationship with his son Michael. Julian was the heir to the family business, but Michael worked to outdo his father and take the job before him. Michael then met Armie’s mother, Dru, who comes from a wealthy Tulsa family, and the couple married. In 1986, they had Armie, who was “like a prince,” Casey says in the docuseries, followed by a younger brother.

Armand died in 1990 and Julian died shortly after in 1996.

What has the Hammer family said in response to the documentary and the Casey Hammer Book?

The main players in the Hammer family (Julius, Armand and Julian) passed away before the turn of the millennium and the release of Casey’s book. Casey says that Michael, Armie’s father, made his feelings about Casey airing the family’s dirty laundry very clear in a private letter he sent him.

Casey reads parts of the letter at the end of the series. An excerpt reads: “Although we haven’t spoken in many years, I have heard the untrue and hurtful things you recently said about our family,” the letter reads. “I can no longer remain silent and allow you to feed your thirst for notoriety at the expense of our family and the Armand Hammer Foundation. If you choose to continue to pretend that the stories you have made up are the truth, I will have no choice but to seek all legal recourse to set the record straight, despite all the pain your fabrications have caused. You share the blood that runs through my veins, and you are still my family, and I only wish you the best.”

Armie has not made any statement about the docuseries, but responded through a lawyer to the allegations made by the women in January 2021. “These claims about Mr. Hammer are patently false. Any interaction with this person, or any associate of theirs, was completely consensual in the sense that they were discussed, agreed upon and mutually participatory,” her attorney said. “The stories being perpetuated in the media are a misguided attempt to present a one-sided narrative with the aim of tarnishing Mr. Hammer’s reputation, and communications from those involved prove it.”

Armie has calmed down after the explosive accusations. In December 2021, she completed the rehab and reportedly sold timeshares in the Grand Cayman Islands.

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