Actress Eliza Dushku accused the stunt coordinator for the film True Lies of sexual assault, and her legal guardian has now confirmed it.
“I was on the True Lies set for 3 weeks and reported Joel Kramer’s inappropriate sexual behavior towards 12-year-old Eliza to a person in authority,” Sue Booth Forbes said in a statement. “I was met with blank stares and had the sense that I wasn’t telling that person anything they didn’t already know.”
In a post to her official Facebook page on Saturday, Dushku detailed how Kramer ingratiated himself to her and her parents and allegedly lured her to a hotel room and assaulted her. While filming on True Lies continued and Kramer got wind that Dushku had told a friend about the assault, she ended up with broken ribs from a stunt injury “by no small coincidence,” she wrote.
“I was at the hospital and can verify that she was hurt and in pain with breaks/cracks to her ribs,” Forbes said in her statement. “Surely they have medical records somewhere to prove that.”
Kramer has since been dropped by Worldwide Production Agency, but Dushku’s original post states that his behavior wasn’t entirely secret among people he worked with.
“I tried to keep Joel away from her as did others working on the set, but because of all the stunts she had to do, he was constantly involved with her and her body,” Forbes added. (Dushku described working in close physical proximity with Kramer due to the nature of stunt work)
“Those who knew didn’t know what to do and were far enough down the pecking order to be afraid of losing their jobs if they pressed the issue because all the power lay in the hands of those who called the shots and would stop at nothing to protect each other.”
True Lies actress Jamie Lee Curtis published a column Sunday for The Huffington Post, in which she describes Dushku’s story as an awakening “from our denial slumber to a new, horrific reality.”
“Many of us involved in True Lies were parents,” Curtis wrote. “Jim, Arnold and myself. Parents of daughters. What allegedly happened to Eliza, away from the safety net of all of us and our purview is a terrible, terrible thing to learn about and have to reconcile.”
A Facebook user who appears to be Dushku’s mother previously responded to comments on the post, saying that she too feared the power Kramer wielded on set, and didn’t realize the scope of what had happened to her daughter. Dushku’s True Lies costar Tom Arnold voiced his support in a tweet.
True Lies director James Cameron also expressed his support for Dushku when he was asked about it in an appearance at the Television Critics Association. (h/t Toronto Star)
Had I known about it, there would have been no mercy. And now, especially that I have daughters, there would really be no mercy now. It’s just heartbreaking that it happened to her. I mean, I know the other party and not well. He hasn’t worked for me since then. But, you know, 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 anybody who might be, you know, a predator or an abuser knows that that mechanism is there and there will be consequences.
Dushku said she’s speaking up now because like so many others in Hollywood, she’s realizing that she was the victim of predatory power dynamics on a film set.
“With every person that speaks out, every banner that drops down onto my iphone screen disclosing similar stories/truths, my resolve strengthens,” Dushku wrote. “Sharing these words, finally calling my abuser out publicly by name, brings the start of a new calm.”