Actress Eliza Dushku has come forward with allegations against her stunt coordinator on the 1994 film “True Lies,” saying Joel Kramer molested her when he was 36 and she was just 12.
In a lengthy post on Facebook, Dushku came forward over the weekend to give a full account of what she called a calculated effort by Kramer to get close to her. She said it followed a pattern of inappropriate behavior, including referring to her as “Jailbait” on set.
She alleged that Kramer manipulated both her and her parents to let him be alone with her in a Miami hotel room where he allegedly got naked and initiated unwanted physical contact with her on a bed.
Kramer denied the allegations against him, referring to the now 37-year-old actress’ accounts as “entirely untrue.”
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) January 14, 2018
“These allegations are a well-crafted fabrication by Ms. Dushku. I do not understand what motivated Ms. Dushku to make this statement and I hope that she can find it in her conscious to correct this injustice and return my good name to me. I understand the culture in Hollywood has been historically unfair to women and I applaud and support women who are standing up and pointing out these injustices,” he said. “It is unfortunate, however that this new culture allows a person to destroy the life and livelihood of a person with false accusations.”
Despite his assertion of innocence, Deadline reports that his agency, WPA, has dropped him as a client. “Such behavior is unacceptable and entirely at odds with the standards of conduct we demand of ourselves, and expect from our clients,” WPA’s president and general counsel Richard Caleel said.
In her post, the actress known for roles on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Dollhouse” wrote that Kramer groomed her and her parents promising to take her for a swim at the stunt crew’s hotel pool one night, followed by her first sushi dinner thereafter. That, she said, was how two people of very different ages ended up in the same hotel room together.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
Dushku said she confided in a “tough adult female friend.” Deadline, in a separate report, revealed that the “friend” was her representative at the time, JoAnne Colonna, who confronted Kramer about what happened.
Dushku also wrote that she suffered an injury to her ribs in a stunt gone wrong — later on the same day that her friend talked to Kramer. The actress suggested in her post that it was no accident.
“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,” she wrote. “On a daily basis he rigged wires and harnesses on my 12 year old body. My life was literally in his hands.”
Dushku said she recently saw a photo of Kramer with his arm around a young girl, which prompted her to come forward with her story. Kramer recently worked on projects including “Blade Runner 2049,” “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Westworld.”
James Cameron, who directed “True Lies,” commended Dushku on her decision to come forward while speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour. According to TV Guide, Cameron is working on a TV adaptation of “True Lies.” He said that he had no clue any of this was going on, promising that there would have been “no mercy” for Kramer if he did.
“Directors are historically pretty oblivious to the interpersonal things on their set, being so focused on what they’re doing creatively,” he said, per Variety. “The fact that this was happening under our noses and we didn’t know about it…” he said, noting it was troubling.
Dushku’s on-screen mother in “True Lies,” Jamie Lee Curtis, penned an article in The Huffington Post addressing the issue of the allegations.
“There are industry-wide legal protections for these young performers that have been long-held and hard fought. There are always teachers and advocates and adult family members or surrogates for the children on set and rigid rules that need to be followed. Yet sadly, as with any rules, these are often broken,” she wrote.
“I hope today that what can come from all of these exposures are new guidelines and safe spaces for people ― regardless of age, gender, race or job ― to share their concerns and truths and that all abusers will be held accountable,” Curtis continued.
Kramer’s full statement to Fox News can be read below:
“Early this morning Eliza Dushku made a accusation against me on her Facebook page. This statement by Ms. Dushku has devastated my family and me. These accusations are entirely untrue. While filming ‘True Lies’ I treated Ms. Dushku with respect and was protective of her safety and welfare as is appropriate to my position as a stunt coordinator. A film crew is like a family, and Eliza was always treated and protected as a member of the family. I never behaved in any way inappropriately with her. I was never in a position where I was alone with her and even while working with her on set her female stunt double was always there to help her into her harness, offer support and ensure her well being. While it is true that Ms. Dushku did come swimming with several of the stunt crew at our hotel and afterwards had sushi with us, again we were not alone and I did not “Lure her to my hotel room.” We as a “family” were including Ms. Dushku in our group to make her feel welcome and included. These allegations are a well-crafted fabrication by Ms. Dushku. I do not understand what motivated Ms. Dushku to make this statement and I hope that she can find it in her conscious to correct this injustice and return my good name to me. I understand the culture in Hollywood has been historically unfair to women and I applaud and support women who are standing up and pointing out these injustices. It is unfortunate, however that this new culture allows a person to destroy the life and livelihood of a person with false accusations. This false accusation has subjected my family and me to death treats and will devastate my livelihood even when proven to be false. In truth, innocence in fact is not enough to clear a person’s name in the minds on the world. This action can also only undermine the suffering of women who have had to deal with unjust treatment.”