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Actress Eliza Dushku says that she was sexually abused by a Hollywood stunt co-ordinator when she was 12 years old

Director James Cameron said that she is “very brave for speaking up.”

Sexual Misconduct Eliza Dushku Source: AP/PA Images

IN A FACEBOOK post, actress Eliza Dushku has claimed that she was sexually abused as a child while working on the movie True Lies.

The actress, known best for her role as Faith in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, said that 25 years ago, when she was just 12 years old, she was groomed and molested by “one of Hollywood’s leading stunt coordinators” Joel Kramer.

At the time, I 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.

The 37-year-old wrote that because of the men and women who have gone before her in recent months, she finally has the ability to speak out. She says that harbouring this information has been “indescribably exhausting” for the last two-and-a-half decades.

I remember, so clearly 25 years later, how Joel Kramer made me feel special, how he methodically built me and my parent’s 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.

US Weekly's Hot Hollywood Style Issue Event - California Source: Francis Specker

Dushku then vividly described the events that unfolded in the hotel room.

Kramer emerged from the bathroom and took advantage of the young girl, before forcing her to sit on his lap in the taxi home.

I remember afterwards, the 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 parents.

Eliza then claimed that over the following weeks, Joel grew cold with her. An older female friend noticed that something was up with Eliza tried to get the young girl to confide in her.

[After] I had confided my terrible secret – on the condition of a trade that she let me drive her car around the Hollywood Hills – [the older female friend] 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 hospital.

The fact that Joel Kramer was responsible for Eliza’s safety on set instilled even more fear in her.

Better in the Dark Party - Park City Source: FRANCIS SPECKER

The actress says she’s still so frustrated that none of the adults on set found Joel’s behaviour towards her strange.

Fairly early on he nicknamed me “Jailbait” and brazenly called me this name in a sick flirty way in front of others (at the time, I remember asking one of my older brothers what it meant). Sure, I’ve come to understand the terrible power dynamics that play into whistle-blowing by “subordinates” against persons in power, how difficult it can be for someone to speak up. But I was a child.
Over the years, I’ve really struggled as I’ve wondered how my life might have been different if someone, anyone grown-up who witnessed his sick ways, had spoken up before he lured me to that hotel room.

The actress said that in recent years, she had heard that Joel Kramer was “found out” and had been forced to leave the industry. However, she recently learned that this isn’t true, and that he remains very high up in Hollywood. A few weeks ago, she stumbled across a photo online that showed Joel Kramer hugging a young girl and has been haunted “near nonstop” since.

She ended her statement by writing:

With every person that speaks out, every banner that drops down onto my iPhone 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.

Eliza’s legal guardian on the set of True Lies, Sue Booth-Forbes, supported her claims.

In a statement with Deadline Hollywood, Booth-Forbes said:

Eliza is telling the truth. I was on the True Lies set for three weeks and reported Joel Kramer’s inappropriate sexual behaviour towards 12-year-old Eliza to a person in authority. I was met with blank stares and had the sense that I wasn’t telling that person anything they didn’t know.

Sue said that she tried her best to keep Joel away from Eliza on set, but because of all of the stunts that she had to do, Joel was “constantly involved with her and her body”. Warning other people on set did not work.

“Those who knew didn’t know what to do and were far enough down the pecking order to be afraid of losing t heir jobs if they pressed the issue.”

Since Eliza spoke out yesterday, director James Cameron, who made the film True Lies commended her bravery.

2018 Winter TCA - AMC Source: Willy Sanjuan

Eliza is very brave for speaking up. I think all the women are that are speaking up and calling for a reckoning now. I think this has been endemic throughout human systems, not just Hollywood. Because Hollywood deals with women who are victims 10, 15, 20 years ago who are famous today, they get to have a louder voice when they come forward.

He also said:

Bravo for them for doing it and I’m glad Eliza did that. It’s just heartbreaking that it happened to her.

Meanwhile, Joel Kramer denies the allegations.

The stunt coordinator, who recently worked on Bladerunner 2049 and Furious 7 said he had “no explanation” for the allegations, but believed at the time that she may have had a crush on him.

He says he “did kiss her one the cheek once to say goodnight to her, gave her a hug” but that “This whole talk of luring her to my room, on top of her, getting off, holding her in the car and calling her ‘Jailbait’ is just outright hyperbole and lies.”

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Kelly Earley

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