Hollywood actor Armie Hammer has been accused of raping a woman in Los Angeles.
The woman, a 24-year-old named only as Effie, made the allegations during a virtual press conference held by high-profile US lawyer Gloria Allred.
In a statement to the PA news agency, Hammer’s lawyer Andrew Brettler described the allegations as “outrageous” and said his client “welcomes the opportunity to set the record straight”.
The Los Angeles Police Department told PA it had opened a sexual assault investigation over the alleged rape, said to have taken place in 2017.
The accuser broke down while reading a prepared statement, alleging she first met Hammer, 34, on Facebook in 2016.
She alleged he raped her for four hours in 2017 and slammed her head against a wall.
Effie lives in Europe, according to Allred, but the lawyer declined to reveal the accuser’s occupation.
She said she first had contact with Hammer on Facebook when she was 20, adding: “I fell in love with him instantly.”
Effie said Hammer was “employing manipulation tactics in order to exert control over me, until I started to lose myself”.
She said he would “test my devotion to him, finally removing and crossing my boundaries as he became increasingly more violent”.
Effie accused the actor of abusing her “mentally, emotionally and sexually” and said he once beat her feet so badly “they would hurt with every step I took for the next week”.
She said: “On April 24 2017, Armie Hammer raped me for over four hours in Los Angeles, during which he repeatedly slapped my head against a wall, bruising my face.”
The accuser added: “During those four hours, I tried to get away and he wouldn’t let me. I thought that he was going to kill me. He then left with no concern for my wellbeing. I was completely in shock and I couldn’t believe that someone I loved did that to me.
“I tried so hard to justify his actions, even to the point of responding to him in a way that did not reflect my true feelings.
“During and since this attack, I have lived in fear of him. And for a long time I tried to dismiss his actions towards me as a twisted form of love.”
Effie said she has now realised their relationship was “damaged” and said she has been left traumatised. She was left suicidal by the alleged rape, she said.
Effie said she is coming forward so Hammer will be “held accountable,” adding she feels “immense guilt” in not speaking out sooner.
Effie added: “I want other survivors of sexual assault around the world to feel empowered and know they are heard, believed, understood and loved.”
Effie said their last interaction was last year.
Mr Brettler has denied the allegations on behalf of his client.
He included a text, allegedly from the accuser, claiming it “undermines and refutes” the rape allegation.
Mr Brettler’s statement read: “As recently as July 18, 2020, (the accuser) sent graphic texts to Mr Hammer telling him what she wanted him to do to her. Mr Hammer responded making it clear that he did not want to maintain that type of relationship with her. The screenshot below is just one of hundreds (the accuser) sent to Mr Hammer.
“It was never Mr Hammer’s intention to embarrass or expose (the accuser’s) fetishes or kinky sexual desires, but she has now escalated this matter to another level by hiring a civil lawyer to host a public press conference. With the truth on his side, Mr Hammer welcomes the opportunity to set the record straight.
“From day one, Mr Hammer has maintained that all of his interactions with (the accuser) — and every other sexual partner of his for that matter — have been completely consensual, discussed and agreed upon in advance, and mutually participatory. (The accuser’s) attention-seeking and ill-advised legal bid will only make it more difficult for real victims of sexual violence to get the justice they deserve.”
Hammer, known for films including The Social Network and Call Me By Your Name, previously described social media allegations against him as “vicious and spurious online attacks against me”.
In response to Hammer’s legal team sharing a text allegedly from the accuser, Ms Allred said: “I challenge Armie Hammer to present all, not some, of his communications with Effie to the Los Angeles Police Department and answer all of their questions directly rather than through his lawyers. ”
When asked if Effie would be pressing charges, Ms Allred, known for taking on cases involving women’s rights, said: “Effie is providing what she thinks might be relevant to law enforcement and then it is for law enforcement and the prosecutor to decide if there is sufficient evidence to pursue it.
“I will only say that Effie has the courage to co-operate in any investigation that may be taking place.”
The Los Angeles Police Department told PA it has opened a sexual assault investigation following a rape claim against Hammer.
A spokesman said officers were contacted by an attorney “representing a female in the community” on February 3.
He added a sexual assault investigation is under way and no further details would be released at this time.
Hammer’s Hollywood career is in freefall following a series of damaging accusations over explicit messages he allegedly sent on social media.
Elizabeth Chambers, his estranged wife and mother of his two children, released a statement last month and said she supported “any victim of assault or abuse”.
She added: “I didn’t realise how much I didn’t know.”
Following the controversy, Hammer stepped down from his starring role opposite Jennifer Lopez in the upcoming comedy Shotgun Wedding, as well as leaving TV series The Offer, a drama about the making of The Godfather.