I don’t know why, but finding out that Jon Hamm was in a fraternity, and did horrible things at the University of Texas in the 1990s, actually endears him to me more. Not because of the awful hazing he subjected pledges to in his fraternity days, but because Jon Hamm is proof that not all frat boys grow up to be monsters. I was in a frat, briefly, at the University of Arkansas in 90s, but then I quit and exposed all their hazing secrets in the school paper and got them suspended from campus, but that’s mostly because I was an asshole in a different kind of way.
Jon Hamm, on the other hand, did some brutal shit to a pledge back in 1990, brutal enough to get arrested along with seven other fraternity brothers, according to documents obtained by Radar:
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.
Sigma Nu? Of course he was in Sigma Nu. Those fuckers were the worst.
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.”
That’s messed up. Three of the fraternity brothers were imprisoned for 30 days, and though an arrest warrant was put out on Hamm, he eventually settled in a plea deal.
And look at him now! He’s one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, and lest you think that’s all an act, listen to his podcast with Pete Holmes. You will never have more respect for a Hollywood actor as a person.
Also, people do a lot of stupid shit in college that has very little bearing upon who they will grow up to be. In the South, at the time, Greek life was practically unavoidable (I think we were around 70 percent Greek at my University), and the peer pressure to go along with everyone else in a fraternity is often very hard to resist, especially given the amount of alcohol that is involved. Think about those occasions when you’re on a plane, and the turbulence is so bad that you honestly suspect that the plane is going to crash. Did you scream? Did you cry? Did you bother the flight attendants? No. You sat there quietly and prayed silently that the plane wouldn’t crash. That’s kind of what being in a fraternity is like. You know this sh*t is wrong, and horrible, but you go along and pray that it ends soon, and that it doesn’t end in a crash.