[imagesource: @armiehammercom/ Twitter]
Where to start.
Armie Hammer, the actor who was set to star alongside Jennifer Lopez in an upcoming rom-com Shotgun Wedding, has had to step away from the role after screengrabs of lurid messages sent between 2016 and 2020, allegedly about his sex life, were leaked by an anonymous social media account under the name @houseofeffie.
In the messages, Hammer describes fantasies of rape and cannibalism.
It’s also important to note that the screengrabs have not been verified and that he claims that they aren’t his.
He also allegedly documented what NewsAU describes as his “double life” on a secret Instagram account, @el_destructo_86. He supposedly used the account to post videos of women in lingerie posing on all fours, images of drug tests, and a meme about bondage.
Let’s start with a few of those before we take a closer look at the messages.
This one refers to his estranged wife Elizabeth Chambers, who has been living with their two children Harper and Ford, in the Cayman Islands since the start of the pandemic.
He says that she is refusing to come back to America with his children, which means that he has to fly there.
The Instagram page also shows his response to an alleged court order requiring him to take a drug test before seeing Chambers and their kids.
Of the test, he supposedly wrote: “All negative, bitches. My body is a finely tuned toxicant processing unit. To be fair I had THC and benzos in my piss. But who doesn’t”.
On to the messages, which are at the centre of the scandal.
Here’s Rolling Stone:
Some of the fantasies contained in the screengrabs were dark, to say the very least. In one, Hammer professes his desire to “bite pieces off of” the recipient and eat her heart; in another, he says, “I am 100% a cannibal. I want to eat you. Fuck. That’s scary to admit. I’ve never admitted that before.”
Those screengrabs for your consideration:
Social media responded to these with memes and TikTok videos of Hammer dancing to Ke$ha’s ‘Cannibal’.
There’s more to this, though, and while folks on the internet are having a field day with the messages and accusations of cannibalism, Empress Wu, a professional dominatrix based in New York City, with a “deeply rooted cannibalism fetish”, says:
Cannibalism fetishes have nothing to do with actually eating another person. “It’s predicated on a certain amount of fantasy and there are different elements to toy around with”.
There’s some occasional blood play, or simple symbolic play like biting someone, or even the “theatre of sitting at a table and eating sushi off [someone’s] body”.
Like most play in the BDSM community, it relies heavily on consent, and negotiation to ensure that both parties are comfortable and feel safe.
And, that’s where the real, and largely ignored, Hammer scandal really comes into effect.
In one message, after the recipient says that having a belt around her neck during sex is “too much,” Hammer responds, “yes”; in another, referring to a prior sexual encounter, a woman says, “I did truly want to stop for most of the time.”
“That’s pretty explicitly a consent violation, and that’s the core of the issue,” [Wu] says. “It doesn’t matter what fetish it was, that’s irrelevant. But when there’s a boundary violation that is something that should always be paid attention to.”
Hammer’s ex-girlfriends have also come forward to allege inappropriate or nonconsensual behaviour.
“He kind of captivates you and while being charming, he’s grooming you for these things that are darker and heavier and consuming,” ex-girlfriend Courtney Vucekovich, who dated Hammer from June to August, told Page Six, in addition to saying Hammer wanted to “barbecue and eat” her.
“When I say consuming, I mean mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, just everything.” She added that he “did some things with me that I wasn’t comfortable with. You end up doing things that are very out-of-character for you, including sex acts,” though she wouldn’t specify what those were.
Another of his exes, Jessica Ciencin Henriquez, tweeted about her experience before making her account private:
“If you are still questioning whether or not those Armie Hammer DMs are real (and they are) maybe you should start questioning why we live in a culture willing to give abusers the benefit of the doubt instead of victims”
In other words, if the messages are true, as Henriquez claims that they are, there’s a larger issue at play here, in that he’s shown a pattern of abusive behaviour.
As Empress Wu puts it: “the discourse surrounding Hammer’s transgressions should focus less on his alleged kinks and more on the alleged consent violations that occurred with the women in these texts.”
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