Are You the One? is a reality dating competition that puts eligible singles on a beach and attempts to pair them up via a complicated matchmaking algorithm. In 2016, Hammer was a contestant on the fifth season of the MTV series filming in the Dominican Republic, but she claims that her experience was overwhelmingly negative thanks to negligence from production. She spoke with The Daily Beast about the alleged assault, a violation which production staff were fully aware of but did nothing about, she says.
According to the 25-year old reality star, the assault took place while she was filming a themed house party. Hammer and her fellow contestants were drinking heavily, and at one point, she was involved in a verbal altercation with a cast mate. Production allegedly advised her to calm down by taking an extra dose of her antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication Zoloft despite her protests — that kind of drug isn’t supposed to ever be mixed with alcohol. At the producers’ insistence, Hammer says she was given the extra dose of her medication and blacked out.
The next morning, Hammer learned that one of her male cast mates had sexually assaulted her in her sleep after other contestants confirmed the physical violation. Producers ultimately made the decision to keep the unnamed contestant in the house; his only consequences would be sleeping in a separate room from the cast and being banned from drinking alcohol for the rest of the show. Hammer also wasn't allowed to drink after the incident, and she claims that production company Lighthearted Entertainment made her sign a non-disclosure agreement, a NDA, which is why she is coming forward five years later. (The company denies ever making Hammer sign an NDA.)
“I was always too afraid to say anything on social media because I had signed those papers," Hammer told The Daily Beast. "I was still really, really scared about that. I guess around 2019 is when I started getting little Twitter fingers, I guess. I would make comments here and there.”
Hammer also shared that she found the courage to speak publicly about the incident after learning of a similar situation on ABC's Bachelor in Paradise involving Bachelor alum Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. While ABC's final investigation found no foul play or misconduct between the two reality stars, the circumstances of that scandal point to a shared occurrence: negligence from production staff.
"I was a non-confrontational person and now I am very confrontational," Hammer shared. "If something is wrong, or if I feel something needs to be said, I say it...At the end of the day, I would hope that anybody who is interested in doing reality TV could hear this and just know that it’s important to be able to stick up for yourself.”
At the time, Lighthearted Entertainment and MTV's only response to Hammer's claims were two brief investigations that closed without finding any evidence, but her full story and the testimonies of her cast mates has forced the television network to open the case once again. MTV revealed that it has begun looking into Hammer's claims, this time with a third party investigator to throughly comb through the details of that night. Her season has been pulled from streaming services, and production on the ninth season of the series has paused in light of the allegations and investigation.
“We take these issues very seriously and have paused production/casting to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations, the third party production company and further review our internal safety protocols,” said an MTV spokesperson in a statement.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please visit Shelter Space.