Jon Hamm was an abusive, hazing frat bro at UT-Austin in 1990


I wasn’t even going to cover this because the details are profoundly disturbing, but you guys seem to want to talk about it, so here we go. Let me just throw up this NSFW WARNING. There are details of hazing gone wrong in this post. What’s strange (to me) is that this information is only coming out now – Jon Hamm has been famous for years, and it’s only this week that Star Magazine/Radar got their hands on Hamm’s old criminal charge for hazing and assault. Apparently, Hamm was in a fraternity at the University of Texas in Austin in 1990 and he and his frat bros went WAY too far with a pledge.

According to explosive court documents obtained by Star magazine, Jon Hamm was involved in a fraternity pledging incident gone wrong on November 10, 1990, at the University of Texas at Austin. The court documents claim that Hamm and his fellow Sigma Nu frat brothers struck a prospective pledge with a wooden paddle more than 30 times on that night. They also allegedly picked him up by his underwear and “pulled it back and forth in a sawing motion,” causing “great pain.” Hamm even set the pledge’s pants on fire, the documents claim, “and would not let [the pledge] extinguish the flame with his hand but made [him] blow it out.

Next, the documents claim, Hamm “hooked the claw of a hammer underneath [the pledge’s] genitals and led him by the hammer around the room.” He rounded out the night by breaking into the apartment of another pledge, the documents claim, “in order to bring [him] to the fraternity house” to subject him to “similar hazing activity.”

The mother of the first pledge 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. Hamm was charged with misdemeanor hazing and assault charges, but they were dismissed in 1995 after he reached a plea deal. A friend tells 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.”

[From Radar]

The Daily Mail has even more details about the assault and the aftermath of the hazing here. It was so bad that Sigma Nu was shut down at UT-Austin?

Is this evidence that sometimes men in their late teens make really awful life choices and they can still grow up to be functioning members of society? Or does this information alter your current view of the now-44-year-old Hamm? Does it put everything in perspective? Do you see him as a bully, still, to this day?


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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218 Responses to “Jon Hamm was an abusive, hazing frat bro at UT-Austin in 1990”

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  1. Caitlin Bruce says:

    Wow this is to much for a Thursday afternoon. Incredibly disturbing.

    • Zigggy says:

      So disturbing. This kind of abuse and humiliation makes me feel sick to my stomach- I can’t imagine how so many people can be there watching and joining in.

    • macy says:

      Nobody forced the fraternity pledges into taking part with anything that may or may not be considered hazing. They were adults as well and willing participants. Everyone involved with the situation was immature, both the fraternity members and the pledges. No reason to label the guys who went along with any hazing directed toward them as victims…because they’re not! FFS, everybody loves getting on their soapbox and expressing outrage about some stupid college pranks from 25 years ago.

      • Amy says:

        Well when someone is lit on fire we tend to call them victims regardless of ‘how they deserved it’. Lighting someone on fire is not a prank. Do you consider rape a fun night where the woman didn’t go with the flow?

      • Jess says:

        I don’t care if it was 25yrs ago or 25minutes ago, this was/is disgusting and vile behavior. Yes JH may have forgotten or chosen to make better choices and move on but what about the victim(s) of the hazing, will they ever forget? I doubt this was the only time he EVER did this to another pledge but probably the only time the cops were notified.

        Time will NOT heal all wounds and youth can never be an excuse for grotesque actions.

        Say what you will about JH now but I doubt he ever repented to the victim and is living the Hollywood dream, so spare me his tortured soul crap.

        As far as asking ppl to get off their soap box vilifying JH, I can say with certainty i NEVER treated another living being like this…in my past present or future. If you’re not horrified by this and completely turned off of JH perhaps you just stop asking ppl to get off soapboxes and instead step into reality and out of denial.

      • msw says:

        I am by NO means excusing this behavior, Jess, but I will say group think, especially with hierarchy involved, is much more powerful than we tend to give it credit for. See the Milgram Experiment. I have never done anything like that and there is no guilty conscience here, but the human condition is, we tend to think pretty highly of ourselves when we don’t really have a reason to. In regards to Hamm, specifically, I don’t think the way a person acts during a brief period of their life, or in one particular situation, is a good indicator of how they will act forever. People are more complex than that, and they are more than just “good” or “bad.”

        In general, I think we need to stop calling hazing “hazing” and call it abuse and assault. I got hazed in band by being woken up at 4 am and getting squirted on the butt with a water pistol while I was standing at attention. Setting someone on fire, obviously, is not just a prank.

      • Irishserra says:

        I beg to differ. Seriously, despite what the says, college boys are not “adults.” The true adults associated with UT-Austin need to make sure this s#$! doesn’t happen. Period. But as long as people like you keep holding onto the view that these are just “stupid college pranks”, incidents like this will continue to happen.

      • joan says:

        Hey Macy, how about you? Or your son or daughter?

        Would it bother you if any of you were subjected to the same treatment?

        And you seem to assume because it started out voluntary that it continued that way.

        What kind of life do you live with these standards?

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Fraternity hazing/initiations are illegal in my state.

    • Mommak918 says:

      First off, this is weird.

      I went to UT Austin and I’ve never heard of him going there. And, I was in the Greek system. It’s kinda crazy how they kept a lid on it, because we had a lot of TV/Film celebs come from UT and they often come back and give speeches etc. Matthew McConaughey being one of the favorites. And, Matthew McConaughey was also in a fraternity.

      That said, I was in the Greek system and it is a bit crazy. We got hazed some and the mind-set is weird because it plays on so many insecurities as new kids in a new world (leaving your parents and being independent in a new scary world ) .
      I dropped out after a year and 1/2 of being in my sorority. I never liked Frat guys because they were often tools and drunken idiots. Seriously, they drink nonstop. Many young men died in my years at school because of falling out of windows or from their floors of their apartments. The amount of drinking in itself is terrifying!

      I’m sure not all are. But, the hazing they went through is barbaric.

      I do know this. At 19-22 I was an idiot.
      I didn’t do the same things Jon Hamm did, but I drank way too much and partied way too hard. I had my upper classmen shame me often and while I was a in a sorority they did it on an emotional and mental level.
      If I could do it over again, I would of changed everything I did.

      I think everyone needs forgiveness and I do think people can change.
      I am not the same person I was in college.
      That said, this is awful but not untypical for frats.

      I have two sons and will NEVER allow them to be in a frat. If I have a say.
      I’m glad I got out of the Greek system early. Otherwise I’m sure I’d of had a lot more mistakes.

      I think, like most people, he was hoping this mistake was behind him and never would come up again.

      • VioletBlues says:

        Sorry, but if a person in their early 20’s is dumb enough to allegedly let themselves get set on “fire” , then not try to immediately and forcefully extinguish it they deserve what they get. Same with allowing himself to get led around by his junk with a hammer. This man (not child) could have left by his own free will, but decided to stay. Nobody was forefully detained in this situation and this guy choose to participate in acts of humiliation. Again, this was hammerballs CHOICE to get hazed, just like Jon Hamm chose to participate in hazing as well. They are all guilty of supreme stupidity, but that’s about it. Everyone was a consenting adult here. And the fact that this has been dug up over two decades later, means someone is looking for cash in exchange for some old college celeb gossip. I’m sure everyone has at least one thing in their past they would be ashamed about if it got out. The only difference is nobody usually cares about skeletons in the closet of the average Jane or Joe. This ancient history is an attention grabber, because– Jon Hamm.

      • ISO says:

        Supposedly my great- grand father was in the midst of being hazed in university. It’s legend in our family that he stood up for himself and walked out and did not get accepted. My siblings and i were not allowed to do the “Greek thing”. And yes I watched animal house very young and the Greek initiation thing was unforgettably Hilariobalz -it became an uncool thing IMO.
        I’m back in university and I’m on the dean’s list. That type of society opens doors while the frat sorority thing will hopefully become outmoded.

  2. aang says:

    I like the blue laces with the blue socks………I don’t know what else to say 🙁

    • V4Real says:

      My daughter went to that school. It’s a great college for education, that’s all I have to add.

  3. tifzlan says:

    Yup, it certainly alters my perception of him. The thing is, i think being in college doesn’t absolve him of what he did because I’m in college now and i know that doing such a terrible thing woud never cross my mind, especially if it included hurting another person.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      It alters mine, too, tifzlan, and I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum, 58. I believe people make mistakes when they are young, and they can grow and change, but this extreme cruelty is not a “mistake.” It’s a sign of a deeply disturbed and flawed person, completely blind to the suffering and pain of others. Even if he never did anything else wrong, it makes me see him through a different lens.

      • tifzlan says:

        I completely agree. A mistake is accidentally spilling water on someone or setting your alarm to the wrong time and missing class because of it. A lot of what i hear frat and sorority members try to pass off as “mistakes” during the recruitment process is… inhumane, cruel treatment of other people that should not be tolerated in the name of “brother/sisterhood.” Why can’t you develop strong friendships through doing NICE things instead of lighting each other on fire or laughing at someone else’s humiliation?

      • **sighs** says:

        Exactly. And let’s be honest, I’m sure this wasn’t the first time it happened. It’s just the time they got caught.

      • MtnRunner says:

        The lack of empathy for another person’s suffering and the enjoyment of exerting power over someone else is very disturbing. These aren’t innocent mistakes that young people grow out of, it’s a symptom of a much deeper problem in their psyche that will continue to exhibit itself in other areas of life.

      • Bridget says:

        This is why I am not a fan of fraternities, because I wonder if any of those men would have ever even dreamed of treating another person in that manner in any other circumstances. Instead, there’s an expectation that each prospective member must ‘pay his dues’ especially when older, current members were subjected to the same treatment themselves. It’s not brotherhood, it doesn’t form bonds. It’s sanctioned cruelty.

        And regarding Hamm himself, it’s disappointing but I’m loathe to condemn a man I don’t know for a crime he committed 25 years ago. I hope that it was an anomaly and not a pattern in the man’s character, but we already knew that he was a deeply flawed human being.

      • The Other Katherine says:

        Bridget, I am with you — I am very anti fraternities and sororities. They promote group-think, and cement it with these barbaric rituals that define a pecking order for the new recruits to aim to move up, so that they can ultimately inflict humiliation instead of suffering it. The enforcement of cruel cultural norms develops a bullying culture where individuals, who might never have had the nerve to bully others, come to think that it’s okay, expected, and even encouraged. Nothing remotely acceptable about any of it.

      • Snazzy says:

        GNAT I totally agree with you on this, as well as all the others who have responded to your comment. This kind of violence is not a mistake: if you can inflict it on others in such a way, it says a lot about who you are. I mean, who can lighting a person on fire be a “mistake”?

      • Nancy says:

        Yes, one who is able to be this cruel is a deeply twisted person. Oh, all frats do this? Hey, there are lots of twisted people out there, which is why I didnt let my sons go to colleges with fraternities. Because I understand peer pressure and that my sons might have gone along just to fit in.

        This does fit in with the alcohol abuse that he is still struggling with. Alcohol can definitely skew your brain so you do terrible things, so there is that to consider. But still – I did stupid things, but not cruel things, ever.

      • laura in LA says:

        Yep, I agree w/you, GNAT.

        I went to a small lib arts college in New England where there were supposedly no frats/sororities, but as it turned out the frats had gone underground or were tied in w/sports teams/clubs. I heard about some of the hazing and thought, who would be so pathetic as to want to join them? It was mostly silly pranks, though, and (as far as I know), nothing as bad as this. I wonder how much of a part he played; was he the instigator or a bystander who didn’t do anything to stop it?

        Although we know he had a rough childhood and probably has some attachment issues as a result, this is still very disturbing, and I can only hope he’s extremely remorseful about it.

    • MG says:

      I agree. To me he seems very similar to Alec Baldwin, a rage monster who hasn’t had a public breakdown….yet.

    • The Other Pinky says:

      Doesn’t change my impressions of him. Always got a dbag vibe off of him

    • Esmom says:

      I’ve always been a defender of him and his curmudgeonly ways but this definitely alters my view of him. I’m disgusted but not even slightly surprised that this occurred in a frat house — I have been saying for years that the bad far outweighs whatever good people think is happening in the greek systems in US universities. I guarantee this same stuff has occurred over and over again on campuses everywhere.
      I highly doubt Hamm or most other frat bros would perpetrate this abuse on their own. It’s the group mentality — not to mention excessive alcohol — that fuels and exacerbates whatever latent impulses these guys have. Not to mention their need to be accepted by the “cool crowd” on campus. Utterly disgusting.

      • Bridget says:

        I find it extremely disappointing to hear of ANYONE behaving that way, but it doesn’t change my opinion of Hamm (in the same way had it been someone I know). Jon Hamm has always come across as a deeply flawed human being – one who has problems when alcohol is added into the equation – but I sincerely hope that he has grown as a person over these past 25 years. It’s despicable to treat someone lile that in the name of brotherhood and I’m glad to hear that each of those boys were punished for it, but I would also hazard a guess that those boys gazed because they themselves were hazed. It brings about a mentality that if they had to live through it, the next year has to live through it and serve their time themselves. This is one of the reasons why I have such a huge problem with the fraternity system – not every group is like that, but it perpetuates a really dangerous mindset in the name of brotherhood.

        Boys are complete idiots through their adolescence (yet another reason why I’m not a fan of frats) and while I sincerely hope that my boys will make much better choices when they’re college aged, I also hope that the mistakes that they made when they were 20 don’t haunt them 25 years later.

    • Anna says:

      This completely changes my perception of him as well. He sounds like a horrible bully and it probably wasn’t the first time (or maybe even the last) that him and his friends have done this.
      The nerve he has to look down on any other celebs when he’s physically assaulted someone in this manner before is laughable. He has a sense of elitism and superiority about him and now I’m really not sure why.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      It doesn’t alter my perception of him. I think a person’s character isn’t defined by one act, but it is made up of all of the different choices they make along the way.

      Hamm’s mother died when he was young and his father died when he was 20…which would have been around the time this happened. He has admitted that he has problems with drinking and that probably influenced what happened then as well.

      I have/know people who have worked with Hamm, and from all accounts he is a kind and generous person (even to those lower on the totem pole than he is). I think this story is completely horrific, but I don’t think it defines his life. Perhaps his current “treat everyone kindly” thing is a result of what he learned from this incident.

      I agree with Bridget that the fraternity system as a whole is deeply flawed. I think a group mentality can take over and you end up with decent people doing things they would never imagine because of it.

      • Kitten says:

        Interesting insight, Tiffany.
        He’s always struck me as someone who has a lot of self-awareness, I’d like to think that he’d be very regretful about something like this.
        I’m anxiously awaiting how he responds to this story.

      • smcollins says:

        Exactly, Tiffany. I’m not going to lay judgement on him (or anybody) for something they did 25 years ago as a dumb kid. Do I condone what he did? Of course not, but I’m pretty sure he’s grown up a lot since then. And let’s not forget that he was once a pledge himself, and most likely went through something similar as part of *his* hazing. My brother-in-law belonged to a fraternity (he’s a couple years older than Mr. Hamm), and to this day he will not disclose what he went through as part of his hazing or what he did to pledges as a member. It’s a vicious cycle that indeed needs to come an end, but give the guy a break.

      • Cate says:

        ^^^ THIS! I’m not a huge Hamm fan, don’t even watch Mad Men, but I thought considering his issues with alcohol, it probably already was a problem back then. And the info about his parents passing away early is new to me, but it only makes more sense now. Of course there should be empathy for the people who he hazed in this way, it’s terrible. But he probably was under the influence and it altered his personality. That’s what alcohol abuse and addiction does people. Some people turn into monsters. So I have empathy for both parties, wish them both the best. And I hope for Hamm he’ll continue to conquer his demons, as he just got out of recovery again. We’re all flawed in different ways.

    • Josefa says:

      Same here. I’m in college too, and we have NEVER taken a pledge this far. Eggs and nasty stuff like that is our limit. Actual physical pain that could end in serious injury has NEVER crossed our minds. Ever.

  4. Enny says:

    I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I think how we react to being given power over another person reveals our true character. He can consciously make efforts to depress that impulse and, if he succeeds, the world is better for it. But his true nature is still bully.

    • Mari says:

      I tend to agree. It’s hard for me to imagine, that being able to do such a sadistic thing to another person would be just “an isolated incident” like his friends say. It makes me think, that maybe he just got more careful with hiding this side of him when he was getting more famous.

    • Pinky says:

      I mentioned on another post: His parents divorced when he was two and he lived with his mom, he lost his mom at 10 to colon cancer then went to live with his grandma and dad whose business was struggling, then right when he entered college he lost his grandma then his dad died when Jon was 19. Maybe there was some misplaced rage here?

      He has abandonment issues as well as perhaps a need to fit in but also a hatred for that need. He has issues he hasn’t dealt with–perhaps those very things that compelled him to take hazing to another level (and maybe treat his common-law wife like doody).

      I am not the same person I was at 22. I am not the same person I was yesterday. I always want to allow for one’s ability to grow, and grow up. I’d like to hear what he has to say about this–take ownership, express remorse, admit how grotesque his behavior was, and even go on record dissecting what it is about the frat system that seems to promote this sadistic groupthink.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        I refuse to accept his having lost his parents as an excuse for his piss poor behavior. I grew up in a children’s home (orphanage) from around age three on. I never hurt another human being for fun.

      • Cindy says:

        No. I had a terrible childhood. Worse than his by far. I agree with paranormal girl. I never tortured anyone. Like enny said up thread, people show a lot about themselves when put in positions of power. This is scary and Hamm has some strong sadistic tendencies.

      • Pinky says:

        @paranormalgirl and @Cindy I am sorry about both of your childhoods. It sounds like you grew up to be decent people, taking the trials of your youths and through your own determination, making certain not to become victims but rather productive and well-adjusted individuals.

        Out of curiosity, did either of you pledge a (fraternity or) sorority? I’d like to hear from people who have. I know a lot of people who pledged, and they do terrible things to one another in the name of fun. And pledges accept it. Everyone participates in it, and the pledges withstand it in order to “fit in.” People go into that knowing that it can get kind of crazy–and even seem excited by that prospect (though certainly no one could have predicted this level of barbarism).

        I have a larger issue with the groupthink and threat of exclusion hoisted upon people just learning to become adults, that’s fostered in the overall Greek system (or eating clubs, or finals clubs, or puddings, etc.).

      • Amberica says:

        I am sorry for your difficulties. But to be objective, Hamm’s loss was recent at the time of the incident, whereas by the time you were in college you’d developed coping mechanisms. It doesn’t rxcu his behavior, but it does explain it to a degree.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        No. No it doesn’t. His behavior is only explained by the pathology he exhibits. As a psychiatrist, I can’t afford to excuse or explain his behavior.

        I wasn’t in a sorority. I’ve never been down with the groupthink.

    • MtnRunner says:

      “…how we react to being given power over another person reveals our true character.”

      Absolutely. When someone chooses to gain an advantage over other by whatever power they have over them (physical, emotional etc), that person shows they are incapable of any real, self-sacrificing love for another. People are just objects to use for their own self-satisfying, ego-stroking gratification.

      This puts his relationship with JW in a very bad light as well. I don’t know anything about her, but knowing this about Jon tells me who had the power in that relationship.

    • Lola says:

      Absolutely. People are saying he was young, he probably changed, etc. But at the same time, if he were put in the same position of apparent immunity to do as he pleased, I wouldn’t be surprised if he acted in the exact same way.
      That level of sadism doesn’t just disappear after a person grows up, more like they find other ways to channel it.

  5. SmellyCat says:

    The details are horrible. However, everyone makes mistakes in their lives. They either learn from them or keep making the same mistakes. He seems to have learned from his, and seems to have lived a normal, productive life. To me this isn’t near Cosby level scandal, and the guy doesn’t deserve to have his life ruined for it.

    • **sighs** says:

      If he weren’t famous, would you be singing the same tune? If some random college frat boy lit someone on fire you’d just say, aww shucks, he’s just a kid! People make mistakes, la di da. What if the kid on fire died? Is it still just an ‘oopsie’?

      • raptor says:

        Right. There’s a difference between “making a mistake” and “lighting someone on fire.”

        And that’s not even touching the fact that leading someone around by the genitals is sexual assault. Using a hammer to do so makes it that much more sadistic.

      • Franca says:

        He was also not a kid. He was what, 20 when it happened? He was an adult.
        He always struck me as a person who thinks he’s above others, this just proves it.

      • Bridget says:

        @**sighs** chances are, you know someone that has done some hazing. Obviously we associate it with the Greek system, but I’ve known folks (usually men) that did it for sports teams as well. So that’s actually the lens I’ve looked at this story.

        I’ve known men that hazed (not like this, thank goodness) and there is something about the combination of a group of young men, alcohol, and “brotherhood” that exponentially increases the bad decisions. All you can do is hope that the passage of time and life experiences help an individual to grow and turn into a productive member of society, but it just depends on each individual. Were they someone who just got carried away with the group? Or were they someone who loves having the opportunity to punish those they perceive as “lower” than them?

      • **sighs** says:

        Nope. Sorry. I played softball up through high school. We never did this sort of thing, and I have never been friends with athletes or people in frats. For exactly this type of reason. I don’t like to be friends with people who are capable of that kind of cruelty. I like to think I’m a fairly good judge of character. I grew up with a theatre crowd. Only one guy in our department in college was in a frat. And he was a total douchebag. And a terrible actor.
        Herd mentality does not excuse cruelty. Maybe I’m just a judgemental person. But I prefer my friends to be free thinkers who can stand up for themselves and others. No matter if they’re 20 or 60. There is no excuse for cruelty. Ever.

      • Bridget says:

        @sighs: I hope that your circle of acquaintances, friends, and professional connections is wider than the people you were friends with in high school and college.

      • **sighs** says:

        Bridget- it was an example.i’ve lived all over the US and overseas. I have friends from all walks of life and cultures and they run the gamut from poor to rich and powerful. I just choose not to be friends with people of a bullying and cruel mindset. They do exist. And you can choose not to surround yourself with those that do.

        Oh, and your example regarded colleges and people in sports. I used appropriate personal examples. But thanks for putting me in a little box.

      • Bridget says:

        @**sighs** You gave a very narrow response, please don’t get persnickety.

        The person that we are in our 40s is not always the person that we are at 20/22. Our life experiences hopefully grow and enrich us. I’m very loathe to completely write someone off when all we have in front of us is one specific incident, especially since (as referenced above) group think is so powerful in situations like that. It’s one of the reasons why I personally don’t like fraternities – you add young men, many of whom are immature or emotionally insecure and therefore more vulnerable to peer pressure, plus alcohol, plus “tradition”, plus a hive mind, and it can add up into a disaster that could very well never have happened otherwise. It is a very potent and powerful mix, and it is often only time that helps give the perspective of how truly effed up people’s actions are. I’m not saying that it excuses or justifies tormenting another human being like that. But I am saying that over the course of 20 years someone can potentially redeem themselves.

      • Amberica says:

        Yeah, I would.

    • Dana m says:

      What if the abuse had happened to your child? Still feel as forgiving ?

      I not staying that people don’t make mistakes but, come on, at 20 years old, he should have known better. He was an adult. I think by the age of 20 most people know that it’s wrong to physically abuse a man or a woman. Just because he is now a famous actor, he should not get a free pass. I was in middle school when this occurred but my cousin was at UT and I remember hearing about it from my aunt. She was shocked but felt relief that my cousin was raised with better morals and he would never physically abuse someone or become involved with this kind of criminal activity. It was so serious that the fraternity was shut down.
      And yes, I’m sure he learned from his mistake and perhaps is a better person now but still, it doesn’t change the fact that he made a terrible D-bag mistake on Nov 10 1990. What a jerk.

    • launicaangelina says:

      I have to believe people change because I see it every day. I work for a drug rehab and some of these people did unspeakable things in the midst of their addiction. Some of my co-workers are convicted felons. People can change – they can rise from an unimaginable darkness to be loving, caring and productive individuals in society.

      • LB says:

        I’m with you. The way I hear some people talk on the Internet, it’s like they’ve never done anything terrible in their life.

        Yes some actions and decisions are worse than others. There are some things I could never imagine doing that others do. But I still feel like I have to consider the context and get an understanding of how the person behaved after the fact to get a true sense of what that one action means in relation to one’s whole life full of numerous actions. It might be a blip, it might be something one learned from or it might actually represent the person.

        I don’t know Jon Hamm. I don’t follow him in the press avidly. I don’t even watch Mad Men (too slow for me). So it remains to be seen what this behavior actually means – is it representative of him or is it some awful thing he did once and felt terrible about and tried to atone for the rest of his life?

      • Lola says:

        He wasn’t high when he did it though.
        And drug addicts don’t necessarily have a violent character.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “He wasn’t high when he did it though.
        And drug addicts don’t necessarily have a violent character.”

        His addiction is to alcohol, and alcoholics can certainly be violent.

      • Dana m says:

        At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you or I forgive him. The only person, IMO, that it really matters with is the victim. If the victim forgives him, wonderful. If he doesn’t or hasn’t yet, that’s his right. There have been stories of hazing victims who has ptsd and have developed other mental health issues due to the these violent abusive incidents. Hazing is a serious and has negative consequences for everyone involved.

      • Dana m says:

        I’ve seen abusive people in my family change for the better. It know that it can totally happen and it is possible. Whether or not Hamm changed, who knows. I don’t know him personally so I can’t speculate. What I do know is that he was an A hole and he physically abused a fraternity brother. But what I was really contemplating in my post was forgiveness.

        At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you or I forgive him, or give him a “free pass”. The only person, IMO, that it really matters with is THE VICTIM. If the victim forgives him, wonderful. If he doesn’t or hasn’t yet, that’s his right. There have been stories of hazing victims who now have ptsd and have developed other mental health issues due to the these violent abusive incidents. Hazing is a serious crime which can have negative longterm consequences for the victim.

    • WillowS says:

      What Jon Hamm did was horrible and you can’t defend it. I’m sure he was drunk when it happened but obviously that’s not an excuse. A precipitating factor, but not an excuse.

      However, I’m surprised at the number of people who’ve never met this man who are saying he’s a horrible person because of something terrible he did as part of a group at age 20. He’s 44 years old and there’s a huge difference between 20 and 44. I have a relative who I love dearly who was jailed for a number of crimes he committed in his 20’s. He’s now 60 years old and is a law abiding, kind and generous person.

      People can change. I did some really crappy things in my teens and early twenties (non-violent but still crappy) but I grew up and haven’t behaved that way in 20 years.

  6. jinni says:

    This is an example of how Hollywood can protect you as long as you are profitable but once aren’t all of your secrets come out. Now that Mad Men is over they are releasing all of this info they probably had on him since the show began, but since his character was getting critical acclaim and is the main character of the show, TPTB kept things hush hush. I wouldn’t be surprised if he only went to rehab because he knew this story was going to come out.

    I don’t think he’s changed. There have been rumors of his douche behavior for a while, so I don’t think he is really that different. Not that I believe people can’t change, just that he was still dealing with the same alcohol addiction recently that he had ever since his youth. So if he probably acts the same way while drunk now like he did in his youth.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if more stories about him start coming out.

    • NewWester says:

      I agree, this might be the start of more stories about Jon that may come out. The studio system back in the early days of Hollywood kept many secrets of actors from being made public. These days it seems the tabloids ( Star, In Touch, TMZ etc) seem to have the power and will hold back information about a celebrity in exchange for exclusive interviews with actors.
      Let’s hope there are not more or worse stories to come

      • Kara says:

        “These days it seems the tabloids ( Star, In Touch, TMZ etc) seem to have the power and will hold back information about a celebrity in exchange for exclusive interviews with actors.”

        the word you are looking for is “blackmail”

    • ell says:

      tbf the only rumours up to now were that he cheated on his gf, which as not particularly nice as it might be, is VERY different from being physically abusive to another guy.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I completely agree.

        Also, he has a GREAT reputation as a co-worker. He is known for being incredibly nice to everyone on set, even those in “lower” positions.

    • Angie says:

      I was thinking the same thing: Wow he has really been protected for a long time and now that Mad Men is coming to a close it’s coming out. Geez.

      I think it’s possible he grew and changed. I have to believe that in life. But at the same time, the sadistic nature of his actions really disturb me. For me a rage monster like Alec Baldwin is LESS scary.

  7. Cecada says:

    Actually not surprising AT ALL

    • als says:

      Agreed. Hamm seems like an impressionable person, this story is not surprising.

      • Amberica says:

        I agree. I’m not saying losing his family is an excuse, but if he’d lost the five years earlier, he might have been in a less vulnerable state by then, able to see the wrong. But the groupthink “we’re a family” mentality takes over. And this is what the new “family” did. Is it terrible? Yes. Did the pledge have the right to leave? Yep. It never should’ve happened, but it’s a psychological problem on BOTH sides (victim and assailant) that enables sh!t like this to go on.

  8. LB says:

    I obviously don’t know Jon Hamm personally so I can’t say if this incident is representative of who he is now. I’m willing to guess no but it would honestly just be a guess.

    Having said that, I don’t think people are just the poor, stupid, and sometimes destructive decisions they make. Really also have to consider how a person dealt with it afterwards (Did he/she apologize? Did he learn from his/her mistake? Did he/she realize the errors of his ways and make amends? Etc, etc, etc). Humans are, after all, complex and often display contradictory behavior.

    Basically I’m not rushing to judgment here. Especially when I’ve done some mean and dumb things in my life and sincerely hope no one sees me as just those things I did.

    • **sighs** says:

      There’s dumb and mean and then there’s cruel and inhuman. Lighting someone on fire? Um, no. That is not a ‘prank’. And at over 18 you should know better. I have no sympathy.

      • LB says:

        At 18, I didn’t know anything. I was still bitchy and horrible to people. I followed my friends around like an idiot. I didn’t care about anyone else. I changed. People change.

        Let’s stop pretending 18 is some perfect age for people to become mature. Let’s stop pretending 21 is that age either. Those are just ages used by society in the legal context. They aren’t indicative of much except that we as a society have no choice but to set an arbitrary marker for driving, drinking, smoking, voting, etc.

        Yeah Jon’s behavior is distinct from my own – he clearly went way way too far – but I think believing people can change and learn from their poor behavior is essential in life.

        Jon did a crappy thing. But he is likely not just that crappy thing he did.

      • Amy says:


        Not for nothing but none of what you described by yourself equates to: lighting someone on fire or dragging a man around by his testicles using a claw hammer.

        A lot of people aren’t angels and go through a period of learning to be better, conversely a lot of people are also sadists who don’t change. I’d be curious to see if this is a Wahlberg situation where Hamm didn’t do those bad deeds again but doesn’t acknowledge the damage or still views it as ‘boys being boys’.

      • launicaangelina says:

        Research shows that the human brain does not fully mature until you’re about 25 years old. 18 or 21 are not magical ages where you learn how to be a perfect, mature adult. Hell, 25 is not that magical age either. 25 is the average age but some people can reach maturity a little earlier or later.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “lighting someone on fire? Um, no. That is not a ‘prank’. And at over 18 you should know better”

        My college friends would light each other on fire. When people were sitting around in dorms, the thing was for people to put a lighter to someone else’s sock. The pilling and fuzz on the sock would catch fire, and the flame would dance around the foot. It didn’t actually catch the sock on fire (just the fuzz) most of the time…but there were times when the sock would light and everyone would freak out and then laugh. Sometimes they also did it to the fray at the bottom of people’s jeans. So technically, I have seen college kids set others on fire, and it wasn’t as barbaric as you are making it sound.

        Context is everything. We don’t know the extent of this fire thing.

      • Beth says:

        I take research about brain development with a grain of salt. No only are people different on an individual basis, but there is a bias that often comes with research and it often reflects our societal norms and values. For instance, during my grandparents’ era, the research had thought most people’s brains reached maturation at around 18-20. It was no coincidence that was around the time in your life you started working, getting married and having kids — that was a societal norm. Nowadays, people are getting married and having kids later in life, and 25-year-olds are treated like kids. I have even seen some recent research that says the brain might not fully develop until early 30’s for some people. By that logic, should we have excused Hamm if he had done this at 29?

        I am not arguing that 18 or 21 are specific ages that we magically have to expect maturity. As I said in the Maisie Williams’ thread yesterday: you don’t know shit when you are young. But what Hamm and his fraternity did are not mistakes that you just chalk up to youthful naiveté. I went to a Big 10 school known for its Greek System and the frats were deplorable; however, their hazing initiations — i.e. making their pledges streak on the campus after hours or egging the Chancellor’s house–look tame in comparison. What the frats at my school did could be chalked up to youthful foolishness. Hamm and his UT frat brothers? That is straight up sadism. Even young children would recognize that.

      • **sighs** says:

        I guess there are those in the world who set light to someone and think it’s funny….and those who don’t. Put me in the latter group.

    • Samtha says:

      I agree. If there’s no pattern of abuse or bad behavior, why judge someone by something they did 25 years ago?

      • Izzy says:

        Really? This wasn’t even just “paddling,” though that by itself is bad enough – it’s physical assault and battery. Add the fire in, and you have assault with intent to cause serious or deadly harm, because it’s not like you can just “light a little fire” – unless you’re a pyrotechnics expert, there’s no way to control that fire. And THEN the hammer claw thing – like someone else on this thread observed, that’s sexual assault. You’ve pretty much got a trifecta there.

        Plenty of people within and outside the Greek system at universities manage to get through rush and pledge weeks without doing this kind of damage. But Jon Hamm decided that hey, this kind of thing is COOL, MAN! And then, he skated by reaching a plea agreement – which let’s face it, he didn’t deserve.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Izzy, seem my comment about fire above. You don’t have to have “intent to cause serious or deadly harm”. College kids are silly.

      • **sighs** says:

        So I guess putting someone’s testicles in a claw hammer is no big deal either. Maybe I should shove pliers up my friends vagina for like, you know, funsies!

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Sighs, you speak for yourself.

        The testicles in a hammer sounds awful. If they did damage they should have been criminally prosecuted for it. But that still doesn’t mean that someone who does such a thing should be written off forever. If there was a repeated pattern of abusing others, I think it would say more about his character.

        I see it kind of like Lord of the Flies. Group think in frats is a dangerous thing.

      • Samtha says:

        I didn’t say what happened was no big deal; it sounds horrific. But I think it’s a mistake to judge someone by something they did 25 years ago, when they’ve never (to our knowledge) done anything violent or disturbing again.

      • **sighs** says:

        And what if his behavior resulted in a death? Should it not be treated in the same way as any other murder because they’re young and in a fraternity? And if our brains don’t really mature until 25, or for some people, even later, do they get a pass? At what point to people have to take responsibilities for the choices they make? We’re all learning and evolving. Why should we punish anyone for poor choices?

      • Tiffany :) says:

        The law looked into this matter. Hamm wasn’t a wealthy celebrity when this happened. If the kids were seriously in danger of being killed, that would have been addressed by the legal system. And yes, if someone intentionally murders someone that is treated differently by the legal system than someone who dies as a result of a prank gone wrong. Murder 1, Murder 2, Murder 3, and manslaughter charges are weighed based on the situation.

        I do think people have to take responsibility for their actions, and it seems the legal system did hold him accountable. I think it is easy to take assumptions to their most extreme, but we need to remember no one died here.

      • Kitten says:

        I was typing almost exactly the same thing as you down thread, Tiffany, before I saw this.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I take that as a compliment, Kitten! 😉

  9. Talie says:

    I think he’s grown up just fine, but does have plenty of demons.

  10. Hautie says:

    Sadly, very little has changed in the frat-bro game. And lets be honest it has gotten much worse since 1990.

    None of it is okay. It is criminal behavior. But I swear, young men will always go with the flow. And this is how they end up in jail for assault. Or prison.

    But for the public to act all shocked… is annoying. This gross and dangerous behavior was just as bad even in the late 70’s. It has just gotten worst since then. Every year the new pledge class needs to be more hateful & criminal than the last.

    What concerns me more with the frat-bro experience. Is how dangerous it is, to be a female at any of their events.

    So no, I am not going to say sh*t about what Hamm did in 1990. I assume there will be a public flogging of him, that many people will happily jump into. Nothing brings out the ugly in others, till they get to judge someone’s past stupid ass behavior.

    I am much more concerned what is happening now. And how the frat-bro experience, is still killing off their pledges at a alarming rate.

    • Heather says:

      Totally agree!

    • Esmom says:

      Well said Hautie. I agree about fraternities and how utterly gross and despicable the system is. I have two teen sons thinking about college and I have told my husband repeatedly that we will not encourage them to join fraternities…and now I’m at the point where I will actively discourage them. I think the whole Greek system needs to be abolished, as I said above any good they do (which I think is dubious) is far outweighed by the bad.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Good. Us foreigners do NOT understand the fixation with Greek life in the States. Let’s discuss the ‘pros’: overpriced housing, rigid, pointless exclusiveness, homophobia (because all gay men can’t help but love you), classicism, sexism, racism, romanticised/enforced violence, cronyism, nepotism, alcoholism, drug intoxication, groupthink, what did I miss? When do they do homework? It’s stupid.

      • Izzy says:

        Jo, all I can say is that even though I was sorority, not fraternity, my experience was vastly different than that of other sororities. No hazing; the worst they did was get us out at 11 p.m. for our initiation night, and it was a lovely, touching ritual that did not last more than an hour. It’s not like we had a curfew to begin with. There was no hazing. As for academics, there was a Scholarship Chairperson whose task it was it monitor semester grades for everyone – pledges and sisters – to make sure they were not on academic probation, to make sure they were doing well in classes, etc. Scholarship was given as much importance as sisterhood, because you were at uni in the first place for scholarship. Totally different experience than what most have or hear about, I know, but it does happen on rare occasion.

      • Crumpet says:

        Hmm. I had multiple male friends that were in fraternities, and my best friend married one and they are still married 20 years later. Do I think fraternities (or sororities) need to exist? Nah. But they are not all insane.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        I suppose you’re right, Izzy. We only see the worst from outside of the U.S. so likely it’s difficult to know the full story. But from the other side, from where lots of us sit, there is so much ‘Worst’ to it it seems like the ‘Worst’ is inherent to the system, which looks incredibly toxic. Truth is somewhere in the middle but the the things the world thinks of the system didn’t come out of nowhere, either. I honestly think it’s moving to ‘NUTS’ side.

  11. applapoom says:

    Yes! Thanks for covering this. I know the ladies here like him and I understand as he is very smooth and charismatic (and handsome). When the Mark Wahlberg’s past came up about the racist attacks he committed in his youth no one was surprised. But with Jon Hamm I think this story is so surprising as it is so at odds with the image he puts forward. However, I have read in places he is in fact not a pleasant guy at all.

  12. DavidBowie says:

    I attended UT Austin between ’89 and ’93. Those frats were unbelievable…hazing and outright racism.

    • GingerCrunch says:

      I was there a few years earlier than you and this is the first I can recall hearing that Hamm even WENT to UT! Either I’ve completely missed that somehow, or they kept his time there quiet as a result of this incident. Just UGH.

  13. J-G says:

    Why do we still have fraternities?

    I don’t think we should necessarily judge people on decisions made during their youth. But some disturbing details have come out about frats recently.

    • Naddie says:

      If one of these decisions is hurting someone badly physically and emotionially, I do think it deserves a judgement.

  14. Belle Epoch says:

    DM: “the morning after, the mother of the first pledge was called to his room to find him ‘hiding in a closet at his apartment, his buttocks and legs black with brusises.'”

    The mother was called to his room? Good for her for pressing charges. Why did some kids go to jail but not Hamm?

    He says it’s hard to play a difficult character year after year. Did Dr House feel the same way? Do they start off dark and get darker? Are their any well-adjusted villains?

    • Amy says:

      That’s horrifying to imagine sending your child to school at what you assume to be an adult mature level with other supposedly like-minded individuals only to have to run to them hiding in a closet terrified and covered in bruises. Smh.

    • The Other Katherine says:

      Hugh Laurie (the man who played Dr. House) is a very creative comedian, a skilled musician, and a consummate professional, who’s been married to the same woman for 25 years. While he’s struggled with major depression, about which he’s been very open, nothing about his past life is remotely comparable to committing felony assault against a fellow student.

  15. Sandy123 says:

    He has never seemed likeable to me at all. Watch his dating game episode, douche for miles. I can’t stand his no-lip face and looks like he smells of Old Spice mixed with vodka. No thank you.

    • Soporificat says:

      Hahaha! He DOES look like he smells of Old Spice mixed with vodka! Perfect.

      But then, I’ve never understood his attraction at all.

  16. K.B. says:

    You mean to tell me that an alcoholic who regularly cheats on his girlfriend and who now makes a living acting also made poor decisions when he was younger? I’m shocked!

    Or not.

    • Miran says:

      ^^ this. He’s always struck me as a loser honestly, he’s not even that good looking, all he has going for him is that he’s supposedly hung like a horse.

  17. iGotNothin says:

    Eh…I wouldn’t say that this incident (these incidents?) speak to who he is now. The only reason this story is getting traction is because there is a famous name attached to it. Notice how the names of the other boys are not mentioned.

    As much as it sucks and as stupid as it seems, this type of thing happens all the time in college. Fraternities and sororities alike tend to abuse their powers when pledging/rush rolls around. And honestly, most of the pledges never speak a word of what happens and go on to do the same or worse to pledges that come after them.

    Vicious cycle…sure, but not really indicative of the type of person someone will become in the future when they grow and realize how ridiculous the whole sorority/fraternity thing really is.

    • Amy says:

      Did he grow and realize how ridiculous the fraternity system is? Or did he reach a plea deal for criminal charges against another human being?

      Tbh, it sounds like, “Well everyone else does it” Yup, and at least two of those people served jail time.

    • Naddie says:

      Not really indicative?

  18. rudy says:

    Jon Hamm is just another flawed person.
    An idiot and a bully for sure, but only an actor.
    No one to look up to.

  19. Ninks says:

    It is of course completely possible to do some horrible things when you’re young and then grow up to become a better person, and I would try not to judge a 44 year old by things they said or did as a teenager/young adult. But yeah, it does make me look at him now in a different light.

    • meme says:

      I agree with you except for last sentence. I still see Jon Hamm the same way. I think he’s a good actor and a decent human being. Is he flawed? Aren’t we all?

  20. mkyarwood says:

    This might seem a sweeping generalization, but all actors have a touch of the socio/psycho in them, or they wouldn’t be good at their jobs.

    • The Other Pinky says:

      Narcissism is probably the most common personality disorder but yeah, sociopathy is probably pretty common with that bunch.

    • **sighs** says:

      Um, yes, that is a gross generalization. Slight narcissism? Sometimes. Attention-seeking? Yes. Not socio or psychopathic. That is not an ‘actor’ thing.

      • MtnRunner says:

        Agree with sighs. That’s a huge, sweeping generalization to call actors socio or psychopathic. Insecure, needy for attention, narcissistic? Yes, there’s reason to make that case, you’re hard pressed to prove the other.

    • Susan says:

      Actually, you’re not so far off – the top two professions of psychopaths – are politics and the entertainment industry. Google top ten jobs of psychopaths –

      • MtnRunner says:

        Looking at the clinical definition of psychopathy and the list of professions, I can see why actors may be lumped into the “Media” category. While there are self-absorbing characteristics of psychopathy among thespians, they are present in many other professions that provide power or control over others. Here’s the list:

        1. CEO
        2. Lawyer
        3. Media (Television/Radio)
        4. Salesperson
        5. Surgeon
        6. Journalist
        7. Police officer
        8. Clergy person
        9. Chef
        10. Civil servant

        A good actor needs to be empathetic with his/her character to portray them realistically and one of the primary characteristics of a psychopath is lack of empathy.

      • **sighs** says:

        We should be more concerned about the police officers on that list!

      • MtnRunner says:

        Isn’t that an interesting list, sighs? Chef is the only one that didn’t make sense to me. The rest all could have a God complex for the amount of influence and control they have over others.

      • Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

        Chef doesn’t surprise me. A lot of head chefs have God complexes.

      • MtnRunner says:

        Their “kingdoms” seemed pretty small to me so hadn’t expected that.

  21. bettyrose says:

    OTOH, we all did stupid shite at that age that we’ve outgrown. OTOH, I’m not aware of anyone I’m close to having been involved in cruel or violent behavior, so I have no frame of reference for whether people change. He just keeps morphing into Don Draper doesn’t he?

    • Kitten says:

      My big brother, who is probably the best male role model to have had growing up, did some crazy-ass shit in college like throwing furniture out his dorm room window, playing pranks on his roomates (and vice-versa), etc.
      He was never in a frat, and he never physically hurt anyone, but it’s hard for me to reconcile the 38-year-old guy that I know now with the 21-year-old who did stuff like that.

      I’m torn because when I read the details of this story, the violence and abuse is just nauseating, yet should this guy be forever punished for what seems to be an isolated incident from his youth? I honestly don’t know. What he allegedly did is atrocious, but it’s not like this guy has a pattern of abusive and violent behavior, KWIM? Did he learn from that incident and grow to become a good person? It seems like he did, but who knows. Maybe he’s still the same jerk but just learned to hide it better.

      I’m undecided.

      • Ennie says:

        çi think that if he was already judged by a judiciary system, and has paid his dues, he deserves another chance. HE might has seen the bad in his actions, he has other demons to fight nowadays.

      • **sighs** says:

        Or has he continued that path and we just haven’t heard about it? Just because we read about him in magazines or see him on tv doesn’t mean we know what he does in private. And why did it take so long for this to come out? Who buried it? Makes you wonder….

      • Kitten says:

        Maybe, Sighs, but without any proof, I’m not going to just assume that he’s a violent and abusive individual.

      • Crumpet says:

        I will wait until I hear what he has to say about this incident (if anything) and than I will decide if I can forgive him.

      • MtnRunner says:

        I would be very interested in hearing if Hamm was remorseful for what he did to the pledge. I hear you, Kitten, that people can be truly repentant for their actions and become better. When someone takes responsibility for their actions and shows real remorse, I believe they’re capable of change.

        The big question is whether or not Hamm has changed or if that desire elevate himself at the expense of another and lack of empathy is still a part of his personality. Just because he was held accountable by our justice system doesn’t mean he was actually reformed.

      • Bridget says:

        @mtnrunner: That’s really the question. Is he someone who is now horrified by how he behaved? Or is he the kind of guy that still thinks its funny? Was this something he regretted, or was it a pattern that we just haven’t seen continued?

        Based on the information we have, we know that Jon Hamm is a deeply flawed individual who has a very serious problem with alcohol. His past actions don’t mean that he’s beyond redemption, but one hopes that he’s not an irredeemable human being (because the world doesn’t need more of those).

    • Korra says:

      He already was don draper. Maybe that’s what drew him to the role. This story is crazy and yes I do respect him less for it.

  22. jinni says:

    I wonder if all of the people saying he grew out of it feel the same way about Sean Penn. He also assaulted someone he was young and as far as I know has not tied up and beat another woman for several hours since then, but his crime is always brought up on this site. Not say he should be forgiven ,just wondering if those that give Hamm a past do it for all actors with a violent past.

    • Samtha says:

      I actually can’t stand Jon Hamm (he seems Clooney smug to me), but he hasn’t shown the same pattern of violent behavior over the years as Sean Penn. Madonna is not the only person he’s assaulted. Even a couple years ago, he was assaulting paps.

    • Bridget says:

      Sean Penn tied up and sexually assaulted his wife, and has a long history of violence. I’m a little uncomfortable making that comparison.

      • jinni says:

        You don’t consider using a hammer to pull a guy by his genitals an assault of a sexual nature? He lit a guy on fire. I would say that what he did to this guy and probably others (since he actually went and started attack another pledge that was sleeping because I guess he just didn’t think torturing one pledge was enough) is right up there with what Penn did. Is it because Hamm’s victims were male while Penn’s was a woman, that his crime can’t be compared to Penn’s?

        As for his lack of history, we just found out about this past incidence and who is to say there aren’t more such stories waiting to be uncovered. Who knows how many pledges he did this to before one was brave enough to out him and the rest of his bros.

    • Nancy says:

      I think they are both horrible human beings.

  23. Veronica says:

    I think it speaks more to the destructive power of young people in unchaperoned environments, particularly if they’re young men. All the more reason to get rid of fraternities.

  24. lucy2 says:

    I’m going to be very curious to see how he responds to this becoming public. It’s incredibly disturbing and disappointing. I do think people can grow up and change, but that level of cruelty and abuse is well beyond youthful stupidity.

  25. Amy says:

    Whenever I hear these sort of frat stories it always makes me wonder about how close those individuals are to raping someone. Copious amounts of alcohol and control over willing and eager applicants. Sexual assault and hazing that goes to the point of sadism with the victim covered on bruises. Theres just something about it that suggests…how easy it’d be for people like that to rape someone.

    I didn’t have an opinion of John Hamm before this, but I can admit there was something about him that was never appealing to me. A vibe of a bad man but with me having no reasons to pin that impression on him. Now…

    I don’t know what kind of man he is now. But with what’s been revealed I can say I wouldn’t feel comfortable being alone in a room with him, and that makes a difference to me. He lit parts of a person on fire so he could laugh watching them try to blow it out. No thanks to all of that, that’s monstrous.

    • Kara says:

      the only reasons they dont do it is because they dont want to be seen as homosexual. there are various very sexually themed things going on that can be seen as rape.

  26. HoustonGrl says:

    It’s all I can do not to throw up. I’m sorry to say, but these sorts of things are still happening in Texas and elsewhere. These are “traditions.” Fraternities are disgusting and should be banned. End of story.

  27. Jaime says:

    Another day, another celebrity I loved turning out to be a jerk. Ugh, I’m so grossed out and disappointed. That poor pledge. I hope he didn’t suffer too much emotional trauma after that.

  28. Sweetpotato says:

    This breaks my heart! I echo everyone’s thoughts about the pledge – I truly hope he’s gone on to live a happy, healthy life.

    NOT an excuse, but wouldn’t this have been around the time that Jon’s dad was dying? Again, no excuse for the horrific behavior. However, I do hold out hope that Jon Hamm hasn’t been a violent a-hole this entire time and that he was/is capable of remorse. I just don’t want to believe that someone who is so aligned with seemingly great people, could be a monster.

  29. NeoCleo says:

    I believe he can be truly sorry for what he did, but it still doesn’t change the fact that as an adult he sadistically inflicted pain and suffering on another individual. I feel a bit sick after reading about this.

  30. FingerBinger says:

    Hamm was young. He did something really stupid. It shouldn’t held against him for the rest of his life.

    • Um okay says:

      This is not “something stupid”. This is aggravated assault. He set a person on fire. Intentionally. He sexually assaulted someone. For fun. Dumb tweets shouldn’t be held against a person forever, but extreme physical harm done to another person should.

      • dulcinea says:

        ITA Um. People have said mean things and done stupid things in their youth (and sometimes well into old age) but to be consciously cruel to another is not another stupid thing you did, it is a choice that you made. I’m not sure why people are defending him, even if his behaviour did not continue into adulthood it is still inexcusable.

  31. anniefannie says:

    I can’t help but relate a recent experience. In my 20s I befriended a fellow bartender. At the time he was working his way thru law school ( paying his own way) during our downtime he related some shocking stories of what he had done to guys pledging his Fraternity. He also shared things he had done to women during his football years in Highschool. ( while consensual still unsettling) At the time these definitely felt like confessions that he wasn’t entirly proud of…but needed to confide. To say I was shocked and disappointed would be mild.
    Additionally he came from an unstable house ( his Mother kicked him out of his house when he was 14)
    Flash forward 20 years: this same man is now an incredibly successful attorney who just celebrated his 40th birthday by hosting 30 of his friends on an epic trip. The one commonality of all of the guests is we all had an experience of uncommon generosity ,loyalty or act of friendship from our host. To say this man has grown into an incredibly kind loyal friend would be an understatement.
    Had I not had this experience firsthand I’m certain I would be with the majority that people rarely change…..

    • Kitten says:

      People who think that others are incapable of change depress me.

    • taxi says:

      Aren’t we all nice to our friends? It’s about how he treats those who are NOT his friends, i.e. casual acquaintances, less powerful associates, his employees, service attendants, receptionists, or any others he views as lesser in status.

      • anniefannie says:

        Because I wanted to limit my post I didn’t share all of the extraordinary acts of kindness & charity my friend has shown for friends AND coworkers. Because I’ve worked in the service industry I’m very sensitive to the treatment of waiters, bartenders and the like and I’m always proud to be with him. Rather than look for holes in my assertions I think it’s more useful to be open to believing or restoring faith in humanity….

      • Um okay says:

        Maybe you should, because if this guy did something as bad as Hamm did – i.e. set a person on fire and then sexually assault them – taking his friends on a nice vacation after getting rich twenty years later does not really restore my faith in humanity.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “It’s about how he treats those who are NOT his friends, i.e. casual acquaintances, less powerful associates, his employees, service attendants, receptionists, or any others he views as lesser in status.”

        First hand experience here. He treats them very well. My experience was during the beginning of MM taping, but before it came out. He was kind to everyone on set from the top dog to the lowest production assistant. Took extra steps to be friendly and make people feel appreciated.

    • Mike says:

      People can surely change, but they should still be held accountable for their actions in the past. This is not some lame bar fight he was involved in – this is too extreme to bear imo. I am truly mortified by reading all this.

      Some people are forced to pay the hefty price in life for even the sins of their fathers. Jon kept marketing himself as a survivor – the all strapping and dependable American boy who came from extremely unfortunate circumstances. A survivor of sorts.

      In reality, he was actually sued and charged for acting like some sadistic and deranged SS officer.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        “People can surely change, but they should still be held accountable for their actions in the past.”

        THIS. I couldn’t have put it any better.

      • Kitten says:

        Except he was punished by the legal system we have in place. Hamm was brought to task on the abuses he was accused of. If you don’t think what he suffered was adequate punishment, then your beef should be with the justice system.

        The question is whether someone should be deemed a worthless person because of something they did 25 years ago.

  32. Mike says:

    It does change my opinions about him and I have been a huge fan of his since the very early days of MM.

    I have been bullied in high school and it was awful. And those kids knew better btw. Setting someone on fire is worse than even rape – hate to bring it up and cheapen the talk with these types of base comparisons, but this is my opinion. Would not forgive a rapist, and will not forgive someone who could do things this monstrous just for ‘fun’. That is some nazi camp level torture and cruelty. Setting on fire?????

    Good luck to his long suffering hapless partner. The things she must deal with every day…

    • Amy says:

      Yeah I understand how people are trying to view it and think of it through him possibly dealing with abandonment in his childhood or alcohol issues, but what about the victim?

      Maybe the victim had those same issues, not to mention the host of new ones that experience probably gave him. If it’s reported correctly he was hiding in his closet after the hazing and his mother had to go and pull him out. What about the issues she gained seeing her son that way?

      I think people can change…if they change. I’d be interested to hear Hamm’s statements and if he’s done any kind of work to make up for his past actions. That’s the mark of change. If he’s just doing a Walberg then no I’m not eager to give him the benefit of the doubt. Someone has scars from Hamm’s behavior.

      • Mike says:

        Well said.

        Can you imagine that poor guy all grown up now seeing his tormentor on TV, getting praised by everyone under the sun -including me btw- for being such a stand-up and admirable guy who was practically marketed as a ‘survivor’ of sorts for all these years?

        If all these things we read are true, that will be a tough tough stain to clean from your reputation. I would be mortified by my past behavior had it been me. I do not excuse Marky Mark’s entitled fat ass, I do not excuse Chris Brown nor Sean Penn’s monstrosity toward their women, and I know I will have a very tough time looking at this guy the same way ever again.

        So morose actually, since I had been his biggest champion since forever, truly liking him for the guy that I imagined he was, gleaned from his interviews here and there of course. Majorly disappointed today.

  33. Lisa says:


    Nope, even if you’re an immature 21, it’s still old enough to know better. If I were with a man and found this out about him, it would be enough to make me reconsider the relationship. Even if we were just friends. I don’t think this is a case of “did something stupid once.” I stole 25 cents from a garage sale when I was 10. That’s something stupid. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. Willfully leading someone around by the balls with a hammer and setting fire to them is dangerous and humiliating. As soon as someone else’s dignity is on the line, it stops being a ~*youthful mistake*~.

  34. Melain says:

    I don’t think you can blame the fraternity. Evil aholes are evil from the inside. Maybe being together with a group of other like-minded guys makes it worse, or provides opportunities to victimize others, but the organization didn’t make him a monster. You can’t stop groups from forming as a way to ensure that the Hamms of the world cant harm others.

    • Mike says:

      I don’t think I can ever watch a guy with this sort of a notoriety to play a villain – ever.

      Before this, I used to think he was so talented, that he should be given any opportunity he asks for in Hollywood. Can you imagine him plying a character like Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List? Or Hannibal Lecter?

      It would be too uncomfortable to surmise that he draws this type of performance most likely from his past personal experiences!

  35. Miran says:

    Are people actually defending this creep and saying people would feel different if he weren’t famous? Uh, no. You light someone on fire for fun you are a crap person, famous or not. That sort of sick mentality doesn’t go away with age.

    • **sighs** says:

      I agree. I think it just manifests itself in different ways.

    • Mike says:

      Fame and beauty do indeed seem to have that much-discussed halo effect.

      Had it been a guy who looked like Karl Rove, I wonder if anyone would defend him after these reports in anyway. They would gleefully nail him to a cross and leave him to his death.

    • Amy says:

      Whoops wrote the wrong comment here but I agree completely.

  36. **sighs** says:

    I really believe that all of this apologizing for people, the “oh, we all did stupid things when we were that age” (btw, no, we all did not do stupid things like that), the boys will be boys, the it was a college thing mentality, is what keeps these things happening. We’re never going to get rid of that culture if we keep enabling it.

    And yes, people can change. But they need to own up to what they did and face consequences for it. Not have it swept under the rug because they’re only 20 or their parents money was enough to bury it.

  37. PoliteTeaSipper says:

    I know I did something horrible enough in my late 20s that would get me crucified by a lot of people on this thread. I live with that shame every day, look back at that person then and don’t even recognize that person as myself, and have used that as my “scared straight” moment to get my life on track and walk the line every day.

    It was an anomaly. I can say that with conviction. It’s not who I am today because I made effort to learn and grow from that experience while making amends to those that were hurt by my actions. I too fell in with a bad crowd and made decisions and mistakes I wouldn’t have made normally. I can’t pull out the pitchforks for others in that situation, because I know what it’s like to be pointed at and had your one biggest mistake be used as evidence of who your entire identity is–no appeal, no forgiveness, no change, no redemption and no chance of hope.

    I just hope that he looks back with the shame and regret that I have and really there is no way to know for sure.

    • Amy says:

      I’m not going to ask what you did but I am glad you took that experience as an opportunity to turn your life around.

      It sounds like you made amends and made efforts to make up for your mistake. I think for myself, and a lot of people, we understand there are people who make tragically bad decisions that they never repeat and are ashamed of. To those people who do acts of goodwill and positivity to make up for it no one wants to condemn you forever.

      I think the problem is in those people who do things like that and don’t make up for it. Don’t give back and try to help. Bury the truth and hide behind the image of a good smiling guy. I’m not saying John Hamm has done this, but others before him have and I simply can not point to someone’s current success and say, “Well they seem to be a well-adjusted kind successful person now.” because for some of them they’ve forgotten the damage they caused and are dismissive of the depth of their actions.

      Not to get political but Mitt Romney is one. When I heard about his actions towards a fellow classmate I was stunned. His actions once this information was revealed only cemented for me that he didn’t really stop being that cruel young man in school. This isn’t true for everyone, it really is an individual thing going case by case. Some people make good on the mistakes of the past, others don’t. If you have then you should feel very proud of yourself.

  38. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    People are a lot more forgiving of this guy than of Trevor Noah. When did some dumb, tired jokes become more heinous than… this?

    • KellyBee says:

      That is an excellent point.

    • Amy says:

      I think people see John in themselves or people they know which prompts a little bit of leniency in judgement. Change the circumstances a little and the attitude would change. If this had been an animal? Oh yeah quite a few folks would wash their hands off him without any waffling.

  39. MinnFinn says:

    My 3 cents. A prediction – “50 Shades – Middle Age” will be written specifically for JH to play a middle aged CG. I’m surprised this hasn’t come out until now. JH has a lot in common with Don Draper which makes me wonder if Matthew Weiner knew that at the time he hired him for the part.

  40. anonforthis says:

    Not surprising. I’ve never been a big fan of his, this just cements my assumptions. Ironically, I was in a sorority in the early 90’s and our house was right next door to the Sigma Nu house. So of course I dated a few of them. Ugh. I remember they had this one really nice guy pledge, then suddenly no one saw him. Turns out he got blackballed, no one was allowed to talk about it.

  41. Justagirl says:

    I usually read all the comments but this story is so disturbing, my apologies if this was said. Note: I enjoyed Mad Men and thought Hamm was hilarious on 30 Rock and SNL.

    I’ve seen a few sites use “hazing gone wrong”….and I think that’s a massive understatement, and misleading. “Gone wrong” implies an accident, a sad misfortune, unanticipated outcome… NO, this was nothing “gone wrong”.

    That is a significant understatement, each of the acts were horrifying indecencies they specifically inflicted on the victim. “Gone wrong” is also misleading, nothing went wrong – versus more common hazing gone wrong stories of alcohol poisoning and unfortunate/tragic consequences of poor judgment. Separate topic, hazing itself is wrong.

    The use of “hazing gone wrong” for this story is a sad insult to the victim, and other victims who did not speak up – it is invalidating, and it minimizes cruel abusive behaviour.

    Are we as a society that uncomfortable with calling out abuse? Many ‘covert abusers’ dole out verbal & emotional abuse, but have a nice-guy/gal reputation….yet when they were younger, they weren’t so covert, they had known issues with anger, temper, jealousy, etc. Our general discomfort & unwillingness to recognize or acknowledge abuse, is what allows abuse to continue, and that same blindness is what keeps many people in unhealthy relationships.

    • **sighs** says:

      Yep. How many abusers are people who everyone described as ‘really nice guys’ and pillars of society? How you not view this as assault and abuse baffles me. And excusing it because, hey, they were in college, they didn’t know any better. My six year old knows better.

  42. AlmondJoy says:

    Setting a human on fire is evidence of being a very very SICK person. Yes, college kids do stupid things. Yes, people grow and change and are not the same people they were during their college years. But even as dumb as I was at that age, the thought of physically harming another person, even in the slightest, never crossed my mind. This definitely changes my perception of him. What he did wasn’t just stupid or immature, it was sick, disgusting and inhumane.

  43. Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

    Sounds like he was a product of his time. 1990 wasn’t as PC as 2015. A lot of stuff that people are appalled by these days was more socially acceptable back then.

    • Mispronounced Nmae Dropper says:

      That said, sounds like he and his mates went too far even by the standards of the day. Hence the police involvement.

    • Amy says:

      …setting someone on fire and hoisting their balls with a claw hammer was more socially acceptable? Lol. I feel like those were always sick and wrong it’s just the few excuses being made now would be flowing like a broken dam to defend the good sweet boy.

      We might call it PC but I like to think it’s more so we went, “Hey you know what’s not cool? Raping people, and burning crosses, and slapping our wives.” and then we all got more evolved and less barbaric.

  44. Mandy says:

    At 20, I had a 1 year old and I owned a 3 story house. I definitely wasn’t a dumb kid playing with fire. And neither was he. You know not to do shit like that at 20. My now 10 and 6 year olds know better than these fraternity idiots. I don’t know who’s more stupid. The people who haze or the people who allow themselves to be hazed.

  45. Majicou says:

    Whatever, as long as men keep a good PR image, people will forgive anything.

  46. amp122076 says:

    Something is definitely weird here. I went to UT Austin and have never ever heard that he’s a Longhorn (and trust me, we’re big on trotting out celeb alumni). Is this verified?

    • Dana m says:

      Yes, it’s in his wiki.

    • GingerCrunch says:

      Right???? I said the same further up thread. Wiki says he graduated, which floors me. It must’ve been hushed up cuz this whole incident is easily researchable….as well as awful? Not the kind of publicity the 40 Acres wants to deal with. Smh.

      • GingerCrunch says:

        So People just reported on it and he says he dropped out after that. Makes more sense. Wiki!!!!

  47. frivolity says:

    I am not defending Jon Hamm. I have always had a distinct disdain for frat “boys” and though I do believe that people can change, I also know that many people do not. Whether or not Hamm is the same person who committed those heinous acts, I have no idea. In any case, those acts were deplorable and he should feel unending remorse, at the very least.

    One comment I want to add:

    Most everyone seems to agree that college fraternities are generally hideous, hazing is horrendous, and that either hazing or the frats themselves should be banned. So, I have to ask, what about the institutional structure in which among the largest amounts of hazing and irrational, horrifying acts of group-think occur – the U.S. military? We seem to give all of these men and women a huge pass and default to calling them heroes without critical evaluation, when the atrocities some of them commit on and off the field – to others and to one other – can be unquestionably worse than any acts could be fathomed. (I am talking about acts and hazing that fall well outside of the duty of “defending the country.”)

    • Amy says:

      I don’t think we dismiss them, in fact I’d say that those structures hid so many of those individuals crimes from the general public to keep up the image of those heroes. As a result it was easy to think they were behaving on a more respectable level.

      Now we see the truth. The army has severe horrible sexual assault records. The CIA covers it ass when it’s members screw up. The police…hah! The more we know the better. That includes EVERYONE whether it’s frats, officers, or army officials.

    • daphne says:

      are you joking? the ppl you mentioned above (military men, public servicemen etc) all contribute to society. fraternity boys do not, they are self serving. your simpathy is misplaced.

    • Lucrezia says:

      I give the military a slight pass because the entire point is to build a group of people willing to obey orders without question, up to and including killing strangers. Since the rest of society discourages that kind thing, you have to break down previous training. It often gets out of hand and goes waay too far … but I can understand why there are group-think elements to start with. There’s at least a bit of logic there.

      When group-think and blind obedience show up in another form (prison guards, police, etc) there’s no underlying logic … the institution is just sick. It’s particularly ironic for it to occur in college, where the entire point is to learn to think for yourself.

      What scares me is that so many people think they’d behave better in that institution/culture. Sorry, but all the psychological research says you probably wouldn’t. We shouldn’t write hazers off as sick/twisted individuals when it’s actually the institution that is sick. We need to focus on what kind of safe-guards can we put in place to stop the group-think happening in the first place.

      • scylla74 says:

        @Lucrezia: well said! It is as if people never heard of Milgram experiments or “The Wave”.

        Especially young men tend to fall in with bad crowds. It may seem as a long shot but IS is building on this! A lot has to do with society and how men often think they have to be “super-manly” and at the same time often, in this age-group, have no real goals.

  48. Ms. Turtle says:

    Sounds horrific but I wouldn’t wholly write him off as a horrible human being. If everyone was solely judged on what they do at age 20, we’d never get anywhere. Maybe he’s made up for his sins; we don’t know the sum of his life.

  49. Mandy says:

    People defending him because of his age, should we let all 20 year olds out of jail for judging them based on what they did at 20? What he did was criminal. All of us make mistakes and continue making them for the rest of our lives but not many of us make mistakes that cause people to be purposely set on fire. Being a drunken stupid frat boy is a conscious effort not to act like an adult. It’s not a right of passage or feeling your oats.

  50. ae148594 says:

    Could it be that the girlfriend dumped him when she found out about what is going to be leaked about his past?

  51. daphne says:

    wasn’t this guy once talked down about kim kardashian? it’s ironic. the worst things ppl think she has done look way better than this story..

  52. Moi says:

    This simply goes to show how you can never escape your past. No matter how you may never do the things as you once did in said past circumstances. It defines you. How that cannot make all of you sad, I will never know.

    Grief is never an excuse. Yet it is. It can alter your mindset. But that is besides the point. The point is, did he learn from his mistakes? Did he grow as a person, ask for forgiveness…never display this sort of behavior again?

  53. Amy says:

    I was in a sorority in college. I wasn’t hazed really. During pledging, we had to go to the sorority houses every night and “trust walk” into the house lined up. We mostly learned about the sorority’s history, the officers and their positions, the names of the girls in our pledge class and the sorority… They had a couple of “hazing activities” which they never followed through with (like dumping a mound of glitter on the floor and telling us every single piece had to be collected before we could leave). The only bad thing that happened was the “kidnapping party” the new pledge class had to organize for upper classmen. I won’t go into details but I ended taking care of a girl who had alcohol poisoning and was throwing up all over my friend’s car. One girl claimed she had had her drink spiked and possibly had been assaulted… The details were sketchy. It was such a fiasco that I vowed never to participate again as an upperclasman so I didn’t. The rest of my sorority experience was smooth sailing apart from a few snippy chapter meetings.

  54. Sindy says:

    If this story is true (I never trust the media anymore unless it comes from the horses mouth) I’m curious to see how this will turn out for him. Will it be swept under the rug because it was 25 years ago (somehow thats forgivable to some) or will he face a big backlash. I can already see the “let’s forgive him” train starting up.

    • Mike says:


      Mark my words. He is too beautiful not to be forgiven by an eager and materialistic public who just looooove how manly he is!!!

  55. jwoolman says:

    I always try to avoid young guys in groups. If there’s at least one girl with them , they are less likely to be trouble. Individually, they can be fine. But something else takes over when testosterone overdose is in the air. It’s a wonder the species has survived, young men can be so incredibly stupid and dangerous to themselves and others.

    I remember one truly gentle man who had joined up with the Marines during the Vietnam War. He said he was just barely spared from taking part in a massacre. His unit was on its way to a village that his commander thought was a “nest of Viet Cong”. The pilot kept arguing with him, saying there were only unarmed old men and women and children there. Fortunately, the pilot won the argument and they turned back. He said that at the age of 19, fresh out of Marine Basic Training, adrenaline rushing, if he was told to go in guns blazing he would have killed them all. Even if they obviously weren’t what he expected to see. And he would have had to live with that memory. Of course, bombs dropped on villages were doing the same kind of damage (a friend headed up medical teams to go into bombed villages, supposedly to help survivors- he said there never were even any intact bodies, much less survivors). But it’s easier for most people to drop a bomb without feeling responsible for the resulting mass murder. I remember when details of the My Lai massacre came out- many military people objected that such massacres happened periodically and the soldiers and especially officers involved were being scapegoated. My gentle brother (a Vietnam vet) wasn’t surprised by it either, he just said it indicated poor leadership on the part of the commander (well, yeah…). Think of the torture in the Iraqi prison engaged in cheerfully by young US soldiers many years later, even documenting their activities with photos in true modern fashion (which is how it was discovered). I knew that was just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. It just doesn’t take much to encourage many people down such insane paths, while in other circumstances the same people would lead non-criminal lives. But give them some kind of official approval (a military uniform, a fraternity), especially when they are young and far from home, and they can do horrible things way too easily. Some are strong enough to resist the group-think, but some are not.

  56. Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

    “Build a man a fire and he’s warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he’s warm for the rest of his life.”

    Jon probably shouldn’t open with that when he responds to this story.

  57. hogtowngooner says:

    I especially love the Hamm-friendly “source” saying “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.”

    Translation: It’s OK, you guys. John’s fine now, and that’s what really matters.


    • Mike says:

      lol, I know.

      He was an abhorrent a-hole, but today he is hot beyond belief and stars on a hit show. Please judge him accordingly! I wonder how the public would handle him if he were an unfortunate looking black, latino or middle eastern guy who did half the sh– he did 20 years ago…

  58. Mike says:

    …and this is the creep who dares to criticize Kartrashians.

    As much as I hate them, those plastic heifers never attempted to torture people by setting them on fire or trying to mutilate their genitals with a claw hammer.

    What he did is truly abhorrent and reprehensible on every level. He must answer for all of it publicly imo.