Early on Saturday, Jan. 13, actor Eliza Dushku claimed on her official Facebook page that at age 12, was allegedly sexually molested by a stunt coordinator while filming the James Cameron-directed film True Lies. Later that day, James Cameron's response to Eliza Dushku's True Lies sexual assault accusation is supportive of the actor. The filmmaker was speaking at a Television Critics' Association panel on the afternoon of Jan. 13, and when asked for a statement on the actor's alleged on-set abuse — she was 12 at the time of filming — Cameron said the following, per Us Weekly:
It’s just heartbreaking that it happened to her. And I know the other party. Not well, he hasn’t worked for me since then. But the fact that this was happening under our noses and we didn’t know about, 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 anyone that might be a predator or an abuser knows that the mechanism is there and it’s encouraged and that there is no shame around it and that there will be consequences. I don’t think this is a Hollywood problem, I think that Hollywood is in a unique position of shining a spotlight on it.
In a widely-shared Facebook post, Dushku detailed the extent of her alleged assault by a stunt coordinator named stunt coordinator Joel Kramer. Kramer, now 60, denied Dushku's allegations in a statement to Us Weekly:
This is all vile lies. I never molested this young woman, ever. Who in their right mind would do that and then still work with someone another six months or seven months or however long we had left to work together, wouldn’t that be a little weird?
On Saturday, Jan. 13, Kramer's rep issued the following statement to Bustle via email:
"We are aware of Ms. Dushku’s serious allegations. We are carefully monitoring the situation for corroboration and/or more facts before commenting further or taking action."
Kramer has most recently worked on big-budget projects like Star Trek: Discovery and Blade Runner 2049.
Cameron did not minimize Dushku's claims, and even suggested that adults on the set of True Lies failed in their responsibility to protect the young actor. Us Weekly reported that the filmmaker hopes that "victims coming forward educates the predators," and he said that this behavior is unacceptable and intolerable and provides "lasting psychological consequences" for the victims:
So, whenever there is a male in a position of power, who’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 be on the path back from the brink as well. Because I think a lot of it has to come [from] some kind of lack of empathy, that they’re clearly not feeling what this is going to mean for this person further down the line. I think the psychological consequences have to be understood.
According to Us Weekly, Cameron went on to say that "most directors" are immersed in their work on set, and aren't as involved in the "interpersonal relationships" among the people working for them. The director continued, saying the following:
“But had I known about there would have been no mercy. I have daughters. There really would be no mercy now.”
As of Sunday, Jan. 14, Dushku has not issued any additional statements about her allegations.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.