Armie Hammer is trending on Twitter right now, but not for any reasons you’d expect. Not because of a new project, or because of his friendship with Call Me By Your Name co-star Timothée Chalamet, or because of his divorce with Elizabeth Chambers.
You’ve been warned.
Hammer is trending for reasons that would give any publicist that “Mondays, am I right?” feeling: Screenshots are circulating online from an account that claims to show the actor speaking to women in a way that is sexually domineering and violent. Some of the messages, which Glamour won’t link to here, speak of drinking blood, describe scenes of sexual control, and reference cannibalism.
There is no proof that the messages are real. Technology exists such that the average person can easily mock up a screenshot of direct messages or impersonate a celebrity online. The screenshots seem to have originated from multiple Instagram accounts, some of which have since gone private. The celebrity gossip Instagram Deaux Moi published a screenshot from one of the profiles that had published the messages claiming that the account had faked its part in the scandal.
Neither Hammer nor his reps have made any reference to the alleged messages. But rumors like “A-list actor eats human women” are bound to explode the internet, especially in a cultural moment where every major news story seems to be about either mass death or the decline of democracy.
“Armie Hammer” trended on Twitter on Sunday night. Hammer’s Wikipedia page was briefly edited to read “Armie Cannibal Hammer.” Gossip blogs and tabloids published screenshots of screenshots and speculated about the fallout for Hammer, who spent the first week of the year in the Cayman Islands with Chambers and their two children. Comedians ran with the story, like an improv troupe given the suggestion “leading man” and “eating human flesh.”
“This is going to blow over,” says comedian J.P. McDade, doing an impression of Hammer. “Didn’t something just happen with…whoever the president is?” He adds: “What do you mean, unrelatable? America loves me—my ancestors threw all of the witches off of the Mayflower.” (Hammer is the great-grandson of the American petroleum tycoon Armand Hammer who, ironically, was named after the arm-and-hammer logo of the Socialist Labor party.)