Actress Says Stuntman Assaulted Her When She Was 12
Posted January 16, 2018 5:34 p.m. EST
A longtime Hollywood stuntman, Joel Kramer, was accused of sexual misconduct by three women over the weekend, including one who said he assaulted her when she was just 12.
That accusation came from actress Eliza Dushku, now 37, who said Saturday in a Facebook post that Kramer abused her during filming of “True Lies,” the 1994 summer blockbuster.
Kramer, who was responsible for Dushku’s safety on set, built up trust with her and her parents before taking her to his Miami hotel for a swim in the pool followed by her first sushi meal, she said.
He took her to his room, where he drew the shades, turned down the lights, turned up the air-conditioning and went to the bathroom, she said. He returned naked, covering himself with only a hand towel, she said.
“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 said. She said she remained motionless until he finished and told her they should keep quiet about what had happened. On the ride home, she said, he had her sit on his lap in the cab.
Dushku soon shared what had happened with a friend, according to her post. That friend, a woman Dushku did not name, then visited the set and confronted Kramer. Later that day, Dushku broke her ribs in a failed stunt.
“Whereas he was supposed to be my protector, he was my abuser,” she wrote.
In an email to The New York Times on Tuesday, Kramer affirmed a denial he had previously given to Deadline Hollywood, an industry publication.
“These are outlandish, manipulated lies,” he told the publication. “I never sexually molested her. I’m sick to my stomach. It’s not true. I think she’s making this up in her imagination. This is all lies. Lies, lies, lies. This is just crazy. I treated her like a daughter. We all looked out for her.”
Kramer also disputed two other accusations of sexual misconduct, both published by Deadline and involving women who were not named.
In a statement provided to Deadline, Sue Booth-Forbes, who said she was Dushku’s legal guardian on the set, said she had reported Kramer’s behavior to an authority figure.
“I was met with blank stares and had the sense that I wasn’t telling that person anything they didn’t already know,” she said.
Dushku, she added, “was treated like one of the boys, not a 12-year-old girl.”
Dushku’s Facebook post sparked an outpouring of support from several of her “True Lies” co-stars.
Jamie Lee Curtis, who played her mother, said in a HuffPost piece that Dushku had told her of the assault a few years ago, and she praised her for coming forward.
“Eliza’s story has now awakened us from our denial slumber to a new, horrific reality. The abuse of children,” she wrote.
James Cameron, who directed the movie, reportedly said Dushku was “brave” for speaking up.
And actors Tom Arnold and Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Twitter that they would have helped had they known.
“All of us would have done something,” said Schwarzenegger, who played her father in the movie. “I’m shocked and saddened for Eliza but I am also proud of her — beyond being a great talent and an amazing woman, she is so courageous.”
In her piece, Curtis noted the difficulties faced by child actors, who are often thrust into a world they may not be fully equipped to understand.
“I have wrestled with my role as a mentor, colleague, surrogate, and friend, and each relationship is individual and unique,” she said of working with child actors. “Are we really friends? Are we workmates? Children are not mature enough to recognize that subtle difference.”