Eliza Dushku has alleged that one of Hollywood's leading stunt coordinators sexually molested her during the filming of 1994's True Lies when she was just 12 years old
Eliza Dushku has alleged that one of Hollywood’s leading stunt coordinators sexually molested her during the filming of 1994’s True Lies when she was just 12 years old.
The actress, 37, was starring in the James Cameron-directed film alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis when she met Joel Kramer — who has worked on many of Schwarzenegger’s films including Twins, Total Recall, Kindergarten Cop, Last Action Hero, Eraser, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
He was put in charge of her safety on the film, rigging her on wires and harnesses for the action movie’s then-groundbreaking stunts. But while he was supposed to be Dushku’s protector, she claimed he turned into her abuser.
“I remember, so clearly 25 years later, how Joel Kramer made me feel special, how he methodically built my and my parents’ trust, for months grooming me,” she wrote in an emotional post on her Facebook page Saturday, claiming that Kramer had lured her to his Miami hotel room “with a promise to my parent that he would take me for a swim at the stunt crew’s hotel pool and for my first sushi meal thereafter.”
There, she alleged he placed her on one of the room’s two hotel beds, disappeared in to the bathroom, and emerged naked, “bearing nothing but a small hand towel” over his genitals. He then allegedly laid on top of her and “rubbed all over me” until he climaxed.
On the taxi ride home, he allegedly grew aroused again when he put Dushku on his lap in the backseat, she claimed.
Kramer did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, nor did reps for Duskhu or Cameron.
In a statement to Variety, Kramer denied Dushku’s claims, calling them “absolutely not true.”
After the alleged incident, Duskhu claimed in her post that Kramer told her, “I think we should be careful…” — a comment she interpreted to mean she shouldn’t tell anyone about the incident as he was 36 at the time. He grew cold with her in the following weeks.
Duskhu claims that she did tell a handful of people, but, she writes, “no one seemed ready to confront this taboo subject then, nor was I.”
It was only the recent onslaught of Hollywood actresses began out about their alleged experiences with sexual misconduct that the Bring It On star felt brave enough to confront her own dark past.
“I am grateful to the women and men who have gone before me in recent months,” she wrote. “The ever-growing list of sexual abuse and harassment victims who have spoken out with their truths have finally given me the ability to speak out. It has been indescribably exhausting, bottling this up inside me for all of these years. … I hope that speaking out will help other victims and protect against future abuse.”
She was especially sparked by a recent photo she saw of Kramer, who has recently worked on Westworld and Furious 7, hugging a young girl. “That image has haunted me near nonstop since,” Dushku wrote. “I can no longer hide what happened.” (Before that, Dushku wrote that she had heard that Kramer was ‘found out’ and had allegedly left the business.)
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Elsewhere in her post, Dushku wondered why those on set at True Lies didn’t see the behavior and put a stop to it.
“It is incomprehensible,” she wrote. “Why didn’t an adult on the set find his predatory advances strange — that over-the-top special attention he gave me. Fairly early on he nicknamed me ‘Jailbait’ and brazenly called me by this name in a sick flirty way in front of others … I was a child.”
“Hollywood has been very good to me in many ways. Nevertheless, Hollywood also failed to protect me, a child actress,” she added.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Dushku’s costar Curtis said she had no knowledge of Kramer’s alleged behavior with Dusku on set but applauded her decision to come forward with her story.
“It is a very sad and disturbing story,” she said. “Obviously, I had no knowledge at the time. I applaud her courage and honor her truth telling and that of all who have come forward and paved the way for what I hope: truth and consequences and reconciliation and substantive change.”
Cameron also addressed Dushku’s allegations when he appeared on a Television Critics Association panel for his new AMC docuseries, AMC Visionaries: James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction in Pasadena, California, on Saturday.
“I haven’t given a lot of thought to this specific situation, I just heard about it,” Cameron said. “But obviously, Eliza is very brave for speaking up and [as are] all the women who are speaking up and calling for a reckoning now.
“It’s just heartbreaking that it happened to her,” he continued. “And I know the other party – not well, he hasn’t worked for me since then. But the fact that this was happening under our noses and we didn’t know about it…I think going forward it’s important for all industries, certainly Hollywood, to create a safe avenue for people to speak up. That they feel safe, and that anyone that might be a predator or an abuser knows that the mechanism is there and it’s encouraged and that there is no shame around it and that there will be consequences.
“So, I think this is a great moment in history, unfortunately is founded on the personal tragedies for so many of these women,” he added. “It’s a great moment, this is not just a reckoning for Hollywood, this is not a reckoning for America, this is a reckoning for the human race. This s— has been going on since day one.”
- with reporting by SCOTT HUVER