Scandals affecting Armie Hammer, Kevin Spacey and Johnny Depp have all hit their movies. We look at how film companies cope when leading players’ box-office stock crashes

Does Armie Hammer ever yearn for the time when the worst thing people said was that nobody liked him? “Ten Long Years of Trying to Make Armie Hammer Happen” was the cruel but incisive headline of a 5,000-word BuzzFeed article from 2017 which concluded that only a wealthy white man could not merely have withstood so much failure but have been rewarded for it. The US actor tweeted about the piece, calling it “bitter AF” before making a celeb’s exit from the social media platform: he deleted his account then quietly reactivated it.

Those must seem now like halcyon days. Hammer’s fall began a year ago when messages surfaced online, purportedly sent from him to various extramarital partners, suggesting an erotic interest in cannibalism. Sexual assault allegations were made by multiple women, while an accusation of rape prompted a Los Angeles police investigation. Hollywood tends to act fast when handling a scandal in the age of social media and #MeToo: Hammer was dropped immediately by his agents, William Morris Endeavor. He exited projects including the Jennifer Lopez romcom Shotgun Wedding, Amma Asante’s cold war thriller Billion Dollar Spy and The Offer, a 10-part series about the making of The Godfather. His scenes in Taika Waititi’s soccer comedy Next Goal Wins were reshot with Will Arnett taking his place.

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