“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.”
And she continued, with details about what happened that day in Miami (below):
“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.”
Oh. My. God.
It gets worse, though, if you can imagine — as Dushku writes, Kramer (who literally had her life in his hands while filming stunts for the movie) eventually injured her afterwards in a very suspect situation (below):
“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.”
That is RAGE inducing!!! That an adult man would do any of this two a twelve-year-old girl?!
Eliza continues on, too, sharing her motivation for why she decided to tell her story now — seeing that Kramer is still working in the industry and potentially preying on young women (below):
“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.”
Justice still will come down on Kramer, in whatever form that may be, but people are already taking it upon themselves to show their displeasure with the stunt man.
Take, for example, his IMDb bio — already edited to reflect who this man apparently REALLY is (below):
“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. Child actors were injured on purpose during stunts or threatened with being injured if they didn’t cooperate with the abuse. After rubbing his naked body all over a 12 year old female actor at the age of 36 in a hotel room until he “finished”, he then the next day broke her ribs in a stunt accident on the set of True Lies.”
It’s a small thing, but it’s a start — and people like that deserve the public shame.
Anyways, about the bigger stuff — it’s incredibly brave for Eliza to come out like this. Our thoughts are with her right now during what must be an unimaginably difficult time.