We’ve always thought of Jon Hamm as a superhero of sorts, the ideal man, just shy of perfection. But details from the actor’s past—awful details—have surfaced and it’s getting hard to see anything but villain now. Because Hamm had a much darker side, and it’s deeply disturbing stuff.
Back in 1990 when Jon was a 20-year-old sophomore at University of Texas at Austin, he was a member of Sigma Nu. And he just happened to be one of those monsters you see in the movies that took great pleasure in initiating prospective pledges to their fraternity.
Star magazine and The Associated Press unearthed the court documents about a particular incident that involved one young man being struck by a wooden paddle more than 30 times by eight members. They allegedly picked him up by his underwear and “pulled it back and forth in a sawing motion,” causing “great pain.” Hamm reportedly also set the pledge’s pants on fire, “and would not let [the pledge] extinguish the flame with his hand but made [him] blow it out.”
The documents also claim Hamm “hooked the claw of a hammer underneath [the pledge’s] genitals and led him by the hammer around the room.” And that, reportedly, wasn’t enough for Jon so he broke into the place of another pledge, and did the same thing to him.
It was the mother of the first pledge who reported the incident and arrest warrants were issued for Hamm and seven other frat members. Three of them were sentenced to 30 days in jail for hazing, and while Hamm was charged with misdemeanor hazing and assault charges, they were dismissed in 1995 after he reached a plea deal.
A friend told Star, “The hazing incident was an isolated incident in Jon’s life. Since then, he’s been strong enough to take steps to make himself a better person.”
Good grief. Where to begin? Hazing? It’s merely a less vile word used to describe bullying and violence and humiliation that needs to be abolished. It’s nothing short of sickening. That being said, fraternity pledges have to know that these horrific incidents are a possibility. There’s always some form of initiation to see if they’re the right stuff. But that’s not to excuse Hamm, or his frat bro or any frat dudes for that matter, from these grotesque actions.
That being said, can’t someone change? Sure. Some people can learn from incidents like this and realize that it’s way over any kind of acceptable line. But there are also others who stand by that code and truly believe that kind of behaviour is OK.
So, is Jon still that guy? Is he like a troubled Don Draper, or like douchebag Ted from Bridesmaids, or like someone else entirely? Who knows? Hopefully not. It would be nice to chalk it up to Hamm being a 21-year-old d*ck who made really terrible choices and that he’s learned from his loathsome mistakes. The Jon then is a perfect example of what men shouldn’t ever be, but perhaps the Jon now, a freshly rehabbed one at that, someone who is trying to get to a better place, is.