Whether Armie Hammer Is A Cannibal Or Not Really Isn’t The Point
The internet went into an absolute frenzy after some pretty disturbing sexts that were allegedly sent by the actor, were made public.
There have been a lot of memes, but the allegations have also thrown up some really serious conversations, as more and more women have come forward with their own stories about Hammer.
Why Are We Talking About Armie Hammer Being A Cannibal?
An anonymous Instagram account called @houseofeffie posted screenshots of some graphic messages allegedly sent to her by Armie Hammer between 2016 and 2020.
In one of them Hammer allegedly declares himself “100 percent a cannibal” and another details his desire to “bite pieces off” the woman.
There are heaps more messages and even some explicit videos circulating, from what appears to be Hammer’s private Instagram account.
This story has a lot of serious layers but it’s the cannibal narrative that has gone completely viral.
Hammer has aggressively denied these claims and the screenshots are actually still unverified.
But as more women come forward with similar and potentially abusive encounters with Hammer, the whole situation becomes a lot more serious.
One conversation has centred on a pretty familiar narrative: how white men get loads of second chances in Hollywood.
Armie Hammer And Second Chances For White Men In Hollywood
This isn’t the first time Hammer’s sexual life has come up in the media.
Sexual fetishes of course, aren’t a bad thing. But women in Hollywood just aren’t allowed to enjoy their sexuality in the same ways as men, without being objectified or even slut-shamed.
In an incredible 2017 Armie Hammer feature by senior Buzzfeed writer Anne Helen Peterson, she says that “a post-Weinstein Hollywood isn’t just about naming and removing abusers” it’s about “illuminating the processes that have, for decades, allowed Hollywood’s interior logic — about who gets second chances, who’s allowed to be a star … — to endure and to excuse itself”.
Hollywood has always been a safe space for attractive white men. It was for Johnny Depp, it was for Sean Penn, and a lot of people think it has been for Armie Hammer.
But like Peterson wrote in her article, how many second chances can a handsome white star get?
The backlash has been pretty severe for Hammer. He’s dropped out of an upcoming movie. And it’s too soon to tell how this might affect the future of his career.
Conflating Kinks And Abuse, Treating Victims’ Stories As Spectacle
But this story has also made us think about the impacts of uncritical media reporting. In this case, a lot of outlets have been conflating kinks and abuse and treating victims’ stories as a spectacle.
This headline (“He wanted to ‘barbecue and eat’ me”) ran hard with the cannibalism angle even though the article quoted one of Hammer’s exes, Courtney Vucekovich, saying that he had physically and emotionally groomed her to a point where she had to seek therapy.
Rather than giving weight to the victim’s trauma and the seriousness of these allegations, the article just played into the sensational and decontextualised language of Hammer’s alleged cannibal texts.
One professional dominatrix told Rolling Stone that the Hammer discourse “should focus less on his alleged kinks and more on the alleged consent violations” with the women in the texts.
Another of Hammer’s exes, Jessica Ciencin Henriquez, tweeted, “why [do] we live in a culture willing to give abusers the benefit of the doubt instead of victims”.
And she has a point. A real worry is how this kind of reporting could impact the everyday people who are living through myriad forms of sexual abuse, intimate partner abuse and relationship violence while watching this story play out.
The media has a history of sensationalising ‘sex scandals’ in Hollywood, and Hollywood has a history of overlooking them.
While we don’t know the truth to the Armie Hammer allegations yet, victims’ stories mustn’t be ignored, and perpetrators of abuse can’t be above the consequences of their actions.