Friday 9 December 2016

Mad Men star Jon Hamm 'was part of violent hazing' at university

Published 10/04/2015 | 14:39

Mad Men star Jon Hamm took part in a violent university hazing in 1990 at the University of Texas that led to criminal charges, according to court and school records.

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The Emmy-nominated actor had not previously been publicly linked to a lawsuit filed by a member of a fraternal social organisation who said he was severely beaten, dragged by a hammer and had his pants lit on fire. In the 1991 lawsuit, the pledge said Hamm participated "until the very end".

Criminal records show Hamm, now 44, was charged with hazing and received probation. A separate charge of assault was dismissed. The chapter of the Sigma Nu fraternity, a male group of students, permanently disbanded.

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Jon Hamm, pictured with partner Jennifer Westfeldt, has battled alcoholism
Jon Hamm, pictured with partner Jennifer Westfeldt, has battled alcoholism
Jon Hamm in Mad Men

None of the record was sealed, but Hamm was not famous when the incident happened and his connection to the case didn't come to light until Star magazine reported on it this week.

The case resurfaced just as the critically acclaimed Mad Men begins airing its final season on AMC.

According to the lawsuit, Hamm became "mad, I mean really mad" after the 20-year-old student joining the fraternity failed to recite things he was supposed to memorise about Hamm and other fraternity members.

The pledge, Mark Allen Sanders, said Hamm went on to set his jeans on fire, shove his face in dirt and strike him with a paddle.

Jon Hamm in Mad Men
Jon Hamm in Mad Men

"He rears back and hits me left-handed. He hit me right over my right kidney, I mean square over it," Sanders said in the lawsuit. "A good solid hit that stood me right up."

Sanders said he needed medical care and withdrew from the school. Court records show the lawsuit was dismissed in 1993.

Four other fraternity members were charged and pleaded no contest to misdemeanour hazing charges.

University records show Hamm left after the same semester in which the hazing took place. In a 2008 interview, Hamm said he left school his second year after his father died and he returned to his home state of Missouri.

Producer Matthew Weiner, left, and actors January Jones, John Slattery, Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks, from second from left, attend a screening of AMC's
Producer Matthew Weiner, left, and actors January Jones, John Slattery, Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks, from second from left, attend a screening of AMC's "Mad Men" Season 7 Part Two at the Museum of Modern Art on Sunday, March 22, 2015, in New York.

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