The Call Me by Your Name star, 36, is the great-grandson of Armand Hammer, a business magnate known for turning Occidental Petroleum into one of the biggest oil companies in the world. Rumors about the wealthy family have circulated for years, but the January 2021 sexual abuse allegations against Armie shed a new light on his relatives.
“I honestly was not surprised or shocked,” Armie’s aunt Casey Hammer exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the Friday, September 2, premiere of the Discovery+ series. “Based on how I grew up, I was exposed to horrific crimes and experiences that were covered up because it was behind closed doors and we couldn’t talk about it.”
Casey is the sister of Armie’s father, Michael Hammer, who worked as an executive at Occidental for years before his grandfather’s death in 1990. The siblings are the children of Armand’s only child, Julian Hammer.
The Hammers are not as powerful in the business world as they once were, but they’ve left their mark all over Hollywood. Los Angeles is home to the Hammer Museum, founded by Armand in 1990, and the Armand Hammer Golf Course in Holmby Park.
“Magnify Succession a million times and it was literally my family,” Casey said in the docuseries, referring to the HBO drama about siblings vying for control of their father’s media empire. “On the outside we were a perfect family, but beneath it all was a dark world of deceit, betrayal and corruption. And that’s why I’m coming forward now. It’s time to stop the cycle.”
While House of Hammer devotes nearly an entire episode to the scandals surrounding Armie, the show also highlights some of the darker aspects of the family’s past. Armie’s grandfather Julian, for example, killed a man in 1955 on the day of his 26th birthday. He was arrested, but according to journalist Edward Epstein, Armand bribed a lawyer with $50,000 to have the charges dropped.
Casey previously discussed the murder and other aspects of her family’s sordid history in her 2015 memoir, Surviving My Birthright, but she hopes House of Hammer will reach a larger audience — and eventually inspire change. “I’m hoping to move forward and change the meaning of the name,” she told Us. “My grandfather’s name is on everything. I would like to be able to turn that around … and let women know that it’s not OK. Men need to be held accountable.”
House of Hammer is now streaming on Discovery+.
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