Unfortunately 2018 did not bring an end to the exhaustive wave of disturbing accounts of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry. In the past week alone, Aziz Ansari, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber have been accused of varying degrees of sexual misconduct. Alongside those stories, Eliza Dushku came forward with a heartbreaking allegation that she had been molested by her stunt coordinator Joel Kramer on the set of True Lies. Dushku was 12 at the time.
True Lies director James Cameron responded to the allegation Saturday, stating that he would have shown “no mercy” to Kramer had he known about the incident. On Sunday, Dushku’s costar Jamie Lee Curtis, who played her mother in the film, shared an open letter through HuffPost offering her thoughts about the incident.
In the letter, Curtis reveals that Dushku told her about the incident with Kramer years before she shared the story publicly. She wrote that she was “shocked and saddened then” and remains so today. “Eliza’s story has now awakened us from our denial slumber to a new, horrific reality. The abuse of children,” Curtis wrote.
In a Facebook post Friday, Dushku told fans that Kramer lured the young actress to his hotel room and molested her. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Dushku’s legal guardian on set claims she reported Kramer's behavior, but was met with no response or action taken.
In other parts of her letter, Curtis speaks more broadly about the way the industry treats child actors, and her role so often as a “mother” figure for them. “It is a complicated relationship working with children as they are being asked to do adult work with you in an adult field, surrounded by hundreds of adults who want them to perform for them, and yet are still inherently children," she wrote. "I have wrestled with my role as a mentor, colleague, surrogate, and friend, and each relationship is individual and unique.”
She also states that the rules in place to protect children, and the trust children have for the adults in charge of protecting them is too frequently broken—as was the case with Dushku and Kramer. “What compounds the difficulty here is that the stunt coordinator in question was literally in charge of our lives, our safety,” Curtis said.
Kramer denied Dushku’s allegations.
“The truth will set us all free,” Curtis wrote at the end of her letter. “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.”