Warning: The following article contains potentially triggering material relating to sexual assault. If you are a victim of sexual assault, call RAINN at 1-800-656-4673.
If you’ve got a Discovery+ account and are comfortable viewing dark subject matter, then House of Hammer is a must-watch this weekend. While the series begins by focusing on disgraced actor and current Cayman Islands timeshare agent Armie Hammer, this three-part docuseries reveals some terrifying truths about his notorious family. For the multiple allegations of abuse levied against Armie, as the documentary reveals, are just small parts of a much larger and disturbing pattern of violence within the Hammer family.
The series may be an extremely difficult watch for some people, and as stated above, there are highly graphic descriptions of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse throughout the three episodes. In addition, the docu-series reveals some extremely bizarre and shocking secrets that have come to light about the Hammer family, Armie included.
Here are some of the most damning revelations made about the troubled House of Hammer.
Julius and Armand Hammer Were Soviet Union Agents
In the series, investigative journalist Edward Epstein reveals that Armie’s great-great-grandfather Dr. Julius Hammer, after immigrating to the U.S. from Russia, had close ties to the KGB and sent the Soviet Union various details about U.S. policy. Armand, Armie’s great-grandfather, had originally learned this from his father, but as the Red Scare crept through the U.S., he stopped as his secret would threaten Occidental Petroleum’s business.
Armand Abused a Mistress and Forced Her to Conceal Her Identity
Although all of the Hammer men highlighted in the documentary were abusive towards their partners and mistresses, one instance seems particularly heinous. Martha Kaufman, a former mistress of Armand, was said to have been forced to treat his every desire, all while disguising herself as a woman named Hillary Gibson at his insistence. This was spurred by his wife, Frances, demanding that Martha no longer visit their home, and she allegedly never saw through the disguise.
Armand Got Away With Two Major Crimes
The men of this family are not just dangerous, but influential. In the case of Armand, he was found guilty of making illegal contributions to the re-election campaign of Richard Nixon in 1975. Fourteen years later, in 1989, George Bush Sr. would pardon him of the charge. Just a year earlier, Occidental Petroleum was in hot water for improper safety measures following the Piper Alpha explosion that killed 165 people. No criminal charges, however, were brought against Hammer or Occidental.
Julian Hammer Held Wild Parties That Involved Abusing Teenage Girls
Casey Hammer, the daughter of Julian (Armie’s grandfather) and the aunt of Armie, reveals in the documentary that her father often acted extremely erratic, especially after her mother divorced him. Among his most disgusting actions were his famous “parties,” which usually had 16-or-17-year-old girls in attendance. Casey recalls finding a Polaroid photo after one of these cocaine-fueled parties, in which a young girl could be seen giving a blowjob while an older man watched her.
Julian Essentially Got Away With Murder
Back in 1955, a friend of Julian’s named Bruce had asked him about an outstanding gambling debt. This sparked an altercation between the two men that resulted in Julian shooting Bruce dead. Thanks to his lawyers, likely hired by Armand, he was able to get the charges downgraded to manslaughter before they were thrown out altogether. However, it was a running joke of sorts within the family was that Julian murdered a man in cold blood. (How funny.)
Julian Allegedly Sexually Abused His Children
During her interview, the producers ask Casey if she was sexually abused by her father, to which she tearfully says yes. While declining to go into detail, she does say that memories of the abuse came back to her after she attended therapy for the first time.
Michael Hammer Looted Armand’s Home Right After the Patriarch Died
Michael, the father of Armie and brother of Casey, might not be as outwardly abusive as the other men in the family, but he still seems like a giant piece of work. Casey alleges in the documentary that, after Armand died in 1990, Michael and his wife Dru immediately began taking valuables from his grandfather’s house.
What makes this worse is that, according to her, they started doing this while Armand’s body was still lying in his bed. It’s also quite suspicious that he ended up getting the majority of the patriarch’s inheritance, especially since he didn’t contribute much to the family business.
Armie Bullied and Humiliated at Least One Co-Star
In the documentary, an anonymous actor who worked with Armie on a movie recalls being forced to hold degrading signs at airports. He also recalls being forced to receive a lapdance at a strip club at Armie’s behest.
Armie Seemingly Sought Out Women With Past Toxic Relationships
A recurring theme within Armie’s featured survivors in the documentary is that they mention previously being in toxic or abusive relationships. Julia Morrison, one of his victims, said that she thought this was part of his M.O., taking advantage of his former partners’ vulnerability.
House of Hammer is now streaming on Discovery+.