Eliza Dushku says she was 'sexually molested' at age 12 while working on 'True Lies'



Image: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

“When I was 12 years old, while filming True Lies, I was sexually molested by Joel Kramer, one of Hollywood’s leading stunt coordinators.”

So begins Eliza Dushku’s heart-wrenching #MeToo Facebook post, which she shared early on Saturday morning. The post goes on to relate, in great detail, the way Kramer allegedly first groomed her and then lured her to his Miami hotel near the set of the 1994 film.

It’s a graphic and frankly disturbing read, made all the moreso by our knowledge of just how young Dushku was at the time. But, like much of what’s come out of Hollywood (and plenty of other industries) in this moment of reckoning for sexual predators, it’s an important document.

Dushku writes in detail about the way Kramer built trust with her on the set, and then used that trust to secure parental permission for some alone time with the young actor. He was supposed to take her to the stunt crew’s swimming pool, and then out for a sushi dinner. Instead, he subjected her to an experience that is so burned into memory, she’s able to relate the smallest details even now, 25 years later.

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. 

The post then goes on to describe how Dushku was later injured in a stunt accident after a female industry friend she’d shared the story with visited the True Lies set. It’s not clear what was said to Kramer, who Dushku says gave her the on-set nickname of “Jailbait,” but she was injured later that same day.

“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,” Dushku wrote. “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.”

In a moment that has seen all manner of awful stories come to light, Dushku’s account nonetheless stands out. It’s a stark reminder of how deeply embedded horrors like this have become, and how easily they’ve been brushed aside in the past.

Dushku concludes her post on a hopeful note.

“Hollywood has been very good to me in many ways. Nevertheless, Hollywood also failed to protect me, a child actress. I like to think of myself as a tough Boston chick, in many ways I suppose not unlike Faith, Missy, or Echo. Through the years, brave fans have regularly shared with me how some of my characters have given them the conviction to stand up to their abusers. Now it is you who give me strength and conviction. I hope that speaking out will help other victims and protect against future abuse.”

Kramer’s recent credits, according to IMDB, include stunt coordinator work on Blade Runner 2049, Star Trek: Discovery, and Westworld. A rep for Kramer did not immediately respond to Mashable’s request for comment. 

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