Eliza Dushku is the latest actress in Hollywood who is coming out against a former abuser. This time, Dushku claims to have been sexually molested on the set of True Lies by famed stunt coordinator Joel Kramer, who has a long body of work behind his name. The stuntman denies the accusations, but Dushku’s personal guardian at the time has come out to say everything the actress is claiming is true. Here is Eliza Dushku’s statement.
“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.”
She goes onto give a graphic account of what transpired between her and the stuntman.
“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.”
Elizabeth Dushku goes onto give an even more vivid account of what transpired at the time, offering details on what happened after the hotel room incident.
“I remember how afterwards, the taxi 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 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.”
It didn’t take long for Joel Kramer to respond to these allegations of sexual misconduct. And he denies any of what she says ever happened. He offers his take on the True Lies shoot.
“These are outlandish, manipulated lies. I never sexually molested her. I’m sick to my stomach. It’s not true. I think she’s making this up in her imagination. This is all lies. Lies, lies, lies. This is just crazy. I treated her like a daughter. We all looked out for her. How does a guy like me fight against something like this? I don’t know what to do. I guess I’ll have to get a lawyer and file a lawsuit against her for defamation and slander. I remember she might have gotten a little bruised, from hanging by a harness and wires during the Harrier Jet scene, but I don’t think she broke any ribs.”
Actress Eliza Dushku accused Joel Kramer of molesting her early on Saturday, and it didn’t take long for the news to spread across Hollywood. Sue Booth-Forbes didn’t waste anytime coming out in her former client’s defense. Booth-Forbes worked as Dushku’s legal guardian on True Lies, which hit theaters in 1994. Dushku played the young daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis’ characters. Dushku’s mom, Judith Ann Rasmussen, was unable to be on set with her daughter at the time of the incident, but she is also confirming Dushku’s story is true. Rasmussen is a political science professor who’s job kept her from being on set when needed.
Booth-Forbes is now the Director of Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat. She had this to say in defense of her former client and the time they spent on the set of True Lies.
“Eliza Dushku is telling the truth. I was on the True Lies set for 3 weeks and reported Joel Kramer’s inappropriate sexual behavior 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 already know. I tried to keep Joel away from her as did others working on the set, but because of all the stunts she had to do, he was constantly involved with her and her body. Those who knew didn’t know what to do and were far enough down the pecking order to be afraid of losing their jobs if they pressed the issue because all the power lay in the hands of those who called the shots and would stop at nothing to protect each other. That was years ago when that power structure was the norm, and the bullies were in charge. Only now does it appear that women and men know what to do and are doing it. May Eliza be believed and supported and may her courage in telling her truth make a contribution to the sea change that is in progress.”
Though Joel Kramer is denying that Dushku broke her ribs on set, Booth-Forbes confirms that she accompanied Dushku to the hospital after the stunt, where she did suffer from several broken ribs. Eliza Dushku was just twelve at the time of the alleged sexual molestation by Joel Kramer. She is now 36. About waiting 25 years to tell her story, she says this.
“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.”
Kramer claims that he was ‘never found out’, and that a quick look at his IMDB page shows no break in work. And that the young girl sitting on his lap is a photo from The Conjuring movie shoot. Someone even hacked Karmer’s IMDB page earlier today, where they made an unexpected update that read, ‘Joel Kramer is a known child molester. He repeatedly abused children off set of numerous movies and then left their life in his hands on-set during stunts.’ The post was quickly removed. Kramer claims this has led to an onslaught of hate mail saying he should kill himself. Some are holding Judith Ann Rasmussen, Eliza’s mom, partly responsible seeing as how she knew. In response, Judith said this.
“I accept your condemnation as Eliza’s mother. No, it was not her career that I feared for, as that meant nothing to me. I was afraid of Joel Kramer, too. And it was years later that I finally understood fully what really happened. At the time, Eliza was too scared to tell the whole story and in a way I think she protected me from knowing because she knew how frightened I was of the powerful men on the set. Her lose was the worst, but abuse can throw a wide net. I only began to understand this many years later.”
Eliza Dushku isn’t condemning Hollywood entirely in her revelation about Joel Kramer. She goes onto say this about her career as an actress.
“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. [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.”
At this time, it is unclear how the matter will press forward or what kind of actions will be taken against Joel Kramer. Deadline was the first to report on Eliza Dushku’s accusations of sexual molestation.