Actress Eliza Dushku says she was molested by True Lies stuntman, Joel Kramer, when she was 12 years old.
In a Facebook post shared Saturday, Jan. 13, Dushku explained how Kramer had a disturbing fixation with her on the set of the James Cameron film. As he managed all the movie's stunts, he was often in close contact with Dushku. His job — attaching harnesses, rigging wires, and ensuring the safety of the cast — ultimately empowered him to take advantage of her.
"I remember, so clearly 25 years later, how Joel Kramer made me feel special," Dushku wrote, "how he methodically built my and my parents’ trust, for months grooming me; exactly how he lured me 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. I remember vividly how he methodically drew the shades and turned down the lights; how he cranked up the air-conditioning to what felt like freezing levels, where exactly he placed me on one of the two hotel room beds, what movie he put on the television (Coneheads); how he disappeared in the bathroom and emerged, naked, bearing nothing but a small hand towel held flimsy at his mid-section. I remember what I was wearing (my favorite white denim shorts, thankfully, secured enough for me to keep on). I remember how he laid me down on the bed, wrapped me with his gigantic writhing body, and rubbed all over me. He spoke these words: 'You’re not going to sleep on me now sweetie, stop pretending you’re sleeping,' as he rubbed harder and faster against my catatonic body. When he was ‘finished’, he suggested, 'I think we should be careful…,' [about telling anyone] he meant. I was 12, he was 36."
"I remember how afterwards," the actress went on, "the taxi driver stared at me in the rear view mirror when Joel Kramer put me on his lap in the backseat and clutched me and grew aroused again; and how my eyes never left the driver’s eyes during that long ride over a Miami bridge, back to my hotel and parent. I remember how Joel Kramer grew cold with me in the ensuing weeks, how everything felt different on the set."
"And I remember how soon-after," she wrote, "when my tough adult female friend (in whom I had confided my terrible secret on the condition of a trade that she let me drive her car around the Hollywood Hills) came out to the set to visit and face him, later that very same day, by no small coincidence, I was injured from a stunt-gone-wrong on the Harrier jet. With broken ribs, I spent the evening in the hospital. To be clear, over the course of those months rehearsing and filming True Lies, it was Joel Kramer who was responsible for my safety on a film that at the time broke new ground for action films. On a daily basis he rigged wires and harnesses on my 12 year old body. My life was literally in his hands: he hung me in the open air, from a tower crane, atop an office tower, 25+ stories high. Whereas he was supposed to be my protector, he was my abuser."
Dushku said she chose to speak out in 2018 because the world needed to know that Hollywood had failed to protect her as a child actress. She also said that despite Kramer being "found out," she'd recently discovered he was once again working in the industry. Haunted by the idea that Kramer could continue to hurt other young actors, she felt compelled to tell her story.
"I learned recently that in fact he still works at the top of the industry," she said. "And a few weeks ago, I found an internet photo of Joel Kramer hugging a young girl. That image has haunted me near nonstop since. I can no longer hide what happened."
In a statement to Variety, Kramer vehemently denied Dusku's allegations, calling them "absolutely not true."
"Who in their right mind would do something like that, when you’re a high-profile coordinator on a shoot like that with months left of shooting?" he told the site.
All our thoughts are with Dushku, and other brave people like her, at this time.