Two years after Armie Hammer was blacklisted over sexual assault and abuse allegations, the actor admitted to using his celebrity status to emotionally abuse women, while denying any criminal sexual wrongdoing.
“I had a very intense and extreme lifestyle,” Hammer said in a lengthy interview with Air Mail. “I would scoop up these women, bring them into it—into this whirlwind of travel and sex and drugs and big emotions flying around—and then as soon as I was done, I’d just drop them off and move on to the next woman, leaving that woman feeling abandoned or used.”
Affirming that he was “one million percent” guilty of emotional abuse, he added: “I’m here to own my mistakes, take accountability for the fact that I was an asshole, that I was selfish, that I used people to make me feel better, and when I was done, moved on. And treated people more poorly than they should have been treated.”
Hammer went on to divulge that he was a victim of childhood abuse, which introduced “sexuality into my life in a way that it was completely out of my control.” At age 13, a youth pastor at the church his family belonged to abused him for a year; when he told his parents that the man made him vaguely uncomfortable, he was harshly rebuffed. (He confided about the abuse to his godmother, Candace Garvey, who corroborated his account.)
“This is a man of God,” Hammer paraphrased while describing his parents’ reaction. “How dare you say these kinds of things? He wants to give you attention, and that’s nice.”
The situation “set a dangerous precedent for my life,” he said. “I was powerless in the situation. I had no agency in the situation. My interests then went to: I want to have control in the situation, sexually.”
Hammer identified his childhood trauma as the origin of his adult interest in B.D.S.M., though he insisted that a desire for control did not equate to violent behavior towards women. Multiple allegations of Hammer’s rape and cannibalism fantasies, as well as actual rape allegations, came to light in early 2021.
The LAPD launched a sexual assault investigation after a woman named Efrosina Angelova accused the actor of raping her for four hours. While he now admits to having an affair with Angelova, then 24, he claims that their sexual relations were entirely consensual or a “consensual non-consent scene.”
“Every single thing was discussed beforehand. I have never thrust this on someone unexpectedly. Never,” he said. “That’s a very important part of the B.D.S.M. world. The consent. Because you’re doing things that are pushing envelopes.”
He admitted that “the power dynamics were off” in his relationships with two of his accusers, Courtney Vucekovich and Paige Lorenze. “I would have these younger women in their mid-20s, and I’m in my 30s. I was a successful actor at the time. They could have been happy to just be with me and would have said yes to things that maybe they wouldn’t have said yes to on their own. That’s an imbalance of power in the situation.”
In the fallout from the scandal, Hammer was dropped from his agency WME and several high-profile projects, putting him in “[massive] debt.” During this period, he became suicidal.
While quarantining in the Cayman Islands in Feb. 2021, “I just walked out into the ocean and swam out as far as I could and hoped that either I drowned, or was hit by a boat, or eaten by a shark,” he said. “Then I realized that my kids were still on shore, and that I couldn’t do that to my kids.”
His career downfall marked a turning point for his personal life.
“I’m now a healthier, happier, more balanced person,” he said. “I’m able to be there for my kids in a way I never was… I’m truly grateful for my life and my recovery and everything.”
“If someone came up to me and gave me a magic lamp and said, ‘There’s a genie in here, but it only gives you one wish. If you rub this lamp, the genie will come out and take you back two years in the past, and you could undo all of this,’” he added, “I wouldn’t do it.”
You can read the full interview here.