One more voice is raised by an actress about the abuse in Hollywood and points to the mecca of cinema as an industry that neglects the children who work in it. Eliza Dushku, an actress known for her participation in series such as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse, told her calvary this weekend when she took her first steps in acting. “When I was 12, while filming True Lies, I was sexually abused by Joel Kramer, one of Hollywood’s leading doubles coordinators,” she wrote on her Facebook account.
By that then, in 1993, Dushku interpreted to Dana, the daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, marriage in the fiction of James Cameron. That’s when Kramer, 36, met Dushku and became friends with her parents. After months of friendship and working confidence with the two adults, the doubles coordinator proposed to take the girl to the hotel pool where he stopped, in Miami.
“I remember how he disappeared into the bathroom and came out naked, with nothing more than a tiny hand towel. He laid me on the bed, wrapped his gigantic body around me and rubbed himself on me,” Dushku wrote. After that, when he took her back to her parents’ house, he again abused her. “The taxi driver looked at me in the rearview mirror when Joel Kramer put me in his lap in the back seat, he grabbed me and got excited again,” she said.
The man told her to keep what happened secret. However, she told some trusted people, including her parents, but nobody did anything about it. “No one seemed prepared to face this taboo subject, nor did I,” the actress explained in her letter, adding: “Hollywood has been very good to me in many ways, but it also failed to protect me as a child actress. “
For his part, Kramer denied the accusations and said that only once he kissed her on the cheek to wish her good night because “they treated her like one of the family”. Kramer is a renowned doubles coordinator in Hollywood and his last works were in the HBO series Westworld and in the film Blade Runner: 2049.
The Full Story of Eliza Dushku
“When I was 12 years old, while filming “True Lies”, I was sexually molested by Joel Kramer, one of Hollywood’s leading stunt coordinators.
Ever since, I have struggled with how and when to disclose this, if ever. 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.
I am grateful to the women and men who have gone before me in recent months. The ever-growing list of sexual abuse and harassment victims who have spoken out with their truths have finally given me the ability to speak out. It has been indescribably exhausting, bottling this up inside me for all of these years.
I remember, so clearly 25 years later, how Joel Kramer made me feel special, how he methodically built my and my parents’ 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. 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. He spoke these words: “You’re not going to sleep on me now sweetie, stop pretending you’re sleeping,” as he rubbed harder and faster against my catatonic body. When he was ‘finished’, he suggested, “I think we should be careful…,” [about telling anyone] he meant. I was 12, he was 36.I remember how afterwards, the taxi driver stared at me in the rearview 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 parent.
I remember how Joel Kramer grew cold with me in the ensuing weeks, how everything felt different on the set.And I remember how soon-after, when my tough adult female friend (in whom I had confided my terrible secret on the condition of a trade that she let me drive her car around the Hollywood Hills) 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 the hospital. 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. 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.
Why speak out now? I was 12, he was 36. It is incomprehensible. Why didn’t an adult on the set find his predatory advances strange — that over-the-top special attention he gave me. Fairly early on he nicknamed me “Jailbait” and brazenly called me by 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, any one grown-up who witnessed his sick ways, had spoken up before he lured me to that hotel room.
Years ago, I had heard second hand that Joel Kramer was “found out” and forced to leave the business. I learned recently that in fact he still works at the top of the industry. And a few weeks ago, I found an internet photo of Joel Kramer hugging a young girl. That image has haunted me near nonstop since. I can no longer hide what happened.
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.
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.”
Support from the industry
Jamie Lee Curtis and James Cameron publicly supported Dushku. The filmmaker said: “Eliza is very brave to talk.” Meanwhile, the actress confirmed the statements of the actress to recognize that she already knew it because Eliza had told him: “The story of Eliza now has awakened us from our dream of denial to a new and horrible reality. “ In her letter, the actress tells that Jamie faced Joel Kramer on the set, and that same day Dushku broke two ribs in a risky scene that the doubles coordinator made her do.