Eliza Dushku Alleges She Was Molested by 'True Lies' Stuntman at Age 12
In an emotional Facebook post, actress Eliza Dushku, 37, alleged that she was sexually molested at age 12 by a famous Hollywood stuntman and stunt coordinator while she was filming the 1994 Arnold Schwarzenegger/Jamie Lee Curtis blockbuster "True Lies."
"When I was 12 years old, while filming 'True Lies,' I was sexually molested by Joel Kramer, one of Hollywood's leading stunt coordinators," she began her long post. Kramer, now 60, whose recent jobs have included work on "Blade Runner 2049," "Star Trek: Discovery" and "Westworld," has denied all of Dushku's allegations.
"True Lies" was just her third film. She would later become a familiar face on TV through roles on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Tru Calling."
Dushku claimed that Kramer had been put in charge of her care while on the film, and describes "how he methodically built my and my parents' trust, for months grooming me."
She remembered Kramer luring her to his Miami hotel room with a promise of escorting her to the hotel pool and out for sushi, but recalled him taking advantage of her immediately. She wrote, "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."
She quoted Kramer as saying, “I think we should be careful…” when he "finished," which she interpreted to mean she should not tell anyone, and said he "grew cold" toward her on the set. She even suggested a stunt that went wrong, resulting in her broken ribs, may have been intentional on his part after an older female friend she'd confided in confronted him.
Dushku at the 1994 premiere of "True Lies"
Dushku asked many questions in her post, including wondering why adults on the set never stepped in to halt what she remembered as obviously inappropriate behavior. "Fairly early on he nicknamed me 'Jailbait' and brazenly called me by this name in a sick flirty way in front of others," she wrote.
The actress, admitting she has "struggled with how and when to disclose this, if ever," asserted that she "shared what happened to me with my parents, two adult friends and one of my older brothers. No one seemed ready to confront this taboo subject then, nor was I."
When a fan condemned Dushku's mother for her part in allowing the abuse, writing that her own mother had interceded to keep her from facing molestation, Judith Dushku responded, writing, "I accept your condemnation as Eliza's mother. No, it was her career that I feared for, as that meant nothing to me. I was afraid of Joel Kramer, too... Thank you to your mother for what she did for you. I wish I had been that brave."
Dushku, who announced her engagement to businessman Peter Palandjian in June, told her followers she had decided to speak out now because she had recently learned Kramer, who she had thought was "found out" and had left the business, was still working. When she saw a photo of Kramer hugging a young girl, she decided to remain silent no more.
Dushku closed her post by urging people to come forward with their stories of abuse. "With every person that speaks out, every banner that drops down onto my iphone screen disclosing similar stories/truths, my resolve strengthens. Sharing these words, finally calling my abuser out publicly by name, brings the start of a new calm."
Kramer told Vanity Fair Dushku's story was "atrocious lies." He recalled a sushi dinner and pool visit with Dushku and other crew members, but denied having been alone with her in his hotel room, molesting her or calling her "Jailbait." Kramer also forcefully denied that he had allowed her to get injured during filming. He said, "I would not want anyone to get hurt on my set, especially a minor. All I can say is nothing sexually... nothing inappropriate ever happened."
Stars have begun lending support to Dushku in the wake of her revelation. "True Lies" director James Cameron called her "brave for speaking up," Variety reports. "I think all the women are (brave) that are speaking up and calling for a reckoning now." He said it was "heartbreaking" to learn it happened on a film he directed, and noted, "Had I known about it, there would have been no mercy. I have three daughters. There'd really be no mercy now."