Jon Hamm's violent fraternity past allegedly revealed in horrifying lawsuit

Apr 9, 2015 at 9:41 p.m. ET
Image: Brian To/

This is not Jon Hamm's month.

Just in time for Mad Men's final season, which premiered last week, news surfaced that Hamm was accused in a violent fraternity hazing incident in 1990, while he was a student at the University of Texas.

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According to criminal records just obtained by USA Today, a pledge of the fraternity Sigma Nu, of which Hamm was a member, accused the chapter of severely beating him, dragging him by his genitals with a hammer and lighting his pants on fire. The man, Mark Allen Sanders, said in his testimony that Hamm was present for the incident and actively participated "till the very end," according to the lawsuit.

Sanders said Hamm shoved his face in dirt, struck him with a paddle and set his jeans on fire, also according to USA Today.

Hamm was allegedly upset because Sanders had failed to memorize certain things, like songs and school anthems, required by fraternity members.

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The actor was charged with hazing and received probation. At this time, it's unclear what the terms of his probation entailed. The lawsuit was dismissed in 1993. But Hamm left the University of Texas at the conclusion of the semester following the hazing incident.

This is the first time the lawsuit has been made public, though Hamm has talked about his time as a student at the University of Texas prior to this revelation. In a 2008 interview with W magazine, Hamm indicated that he left the school after his father died.

USA Today reports that four other members of the Sigma Nu fraternity were charged and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hazing charges. Gawker is reporting that three of the fraternity men served 30 days in prison for the hazing. Following the charges, the Sigma Nu chapter at the University of Texas was shut down. According to Yahoo!, the chapter closing was specifically related to the hazing charges.

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Hamm has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

This is not the first bout of negative publicity Hamm has struggled with in the past month. At the end of March, it was revealed that the actor completed time in rehab for alcohol addiction at the beginning of the month.

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