NOTE: This article contains disturbing and sexually explicit language. Please read at your own discretion.
Eliza Dushku, best-known for playing Faith on TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and for her supporting role in the movie Bring It On, has accused the stunt coordinator on the set of 1994 film True Lies of sexually abusing her when she was only 12 years old.
Joel Kramer, the accused, was 36 at the time and has denied the allegations.
“Wow, that’s news to me,” he responded. “I never sexually assaulted her. She’s a sweet girl. We all looked out for her, that’s surprising. I’m just shocked. I don’t know why she would say that. We took her out to dinner and we took her to our hotel for a swim at the pool.”
On Saturday, Dushku posted a lengthy description of the accusations to her Facebook page.
“I have struggled with how and when to disclose this, if ever,” Dushku wrote in the post. “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.”
Dushku claims that Kramer nicknamed her “Jailbait” — a term for a young woman considered in sexual terms, but who’s under the age of consent — and frequently called her that in front of other people on set of the movie.
According to Dushku, now 37, Kramer got her alone in a hotel room after saying he’d take her for a swim in the hotel pool.
There, she wrote, he emerged naked from the bathroom with “nothing but a small hand towel held flimsy at his mid-section” and she remembers “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,” she wrote. “When he was ‘finished,’ he suggested, ‘I think we should be careful…,’ he meant.”
After the alleged hotel incident, Dushku was injured on the True Lies set, breaking two ribs during a stunt that Kramer was in charge of.
“On a daily basis he rigged wires and harnesses on my 12-year-old body,” she 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.”
Kramer denied the accusations of abuse but acknowledged that he and other crew members had taken Dushku out for sushi and swimming.
“Had I known about it, there would have been no mercy,” said Cameron to a room of journalists at the Television Critics Association convention. “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. 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.”
“This has been endemic throughout human systems, not just Hollywood,” he continued. “I’m glad Eliza did that… this is not a reckoning for Hollywood. This is not a reckoning for America. This is a reckoning for the human race. This s**t has been going on since day one, you know. So whenever there’s a male in a position of power and he’s got a piece missing and doesn’t understand the consequences of what he’s doing … maybe out of this can come some education that can pull some men who would otherwise go down that path back from the brink.”
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Curtis echoed Cameron’s sentiment in an essay for HuffPost.
“ had shared that story with me privately a few years ago,” she wrote. “I was shocked and saddened then and still am today. We have all started to awaken to the fact that the terrible abuses now commonplace in daily news reports have been going on for a very long time… Eliza’s story has now awakened us from our denial slumber to a new, horrific reality. The abuse of children.”
“ new guidelines and safe spaces for people — regardless of age, gender, race or job – to share their concerns,” she continued. “Hopefully that freedom will bring a new ability to call out abuse and, when that abuse occurs, to have swift and consistent action, so that no one again will have to wait 25 years for their truth to be heard.”
As of late, Dushku has appeared in the TV series Bull and starred in the TV movie, The Saint. None of these sexual assault accusations has been proven in court, and Kramer has not been charged with any crime.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
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