James Cameron has addressed allegations made by Eliza Dushku that she was sexually molested by a stunt coordinator on the set of his film True Lies, praising the actress for her bravery in coming forward.
“Eliza is very brave for speaking up,” Cameron told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour on Saturday, where he was promoting his AMC series Visionaries. “Had I known about it, there would’ve been no mercy.”
On Saturday, the 37-year-old actress alleged in a Facebook post that one of Hollywood’s leading stunt coordinators, Joel Kramer, molested her during the filming of the Cameron-directed 1994 film when she was 12 years old. Kramer has denied the allegations, calling them “atrocious lies” in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“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,” she wrote in an emotional post on her Facebook page, claiming that Kramer had brought her 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.” However, she claims that Kramer placed her on one of the room’s two hotel beds, disappearing into the bathroom before emerging naked, with a small hand towel over his genitals. Dushku alleges that Kramer then laid on top of her and “rubbed all over me” until he climaxed.
Here are Cameron’s comments in full:
“I just heard about it. I haven’t given a lot of thought to the specific situation today — I just heard about it, but obviously Eliza is very brave for speaking up. I think all the women are that are speaking up and calling for a reckoning now. I think this has been endemic throughout human systems, not just Hollywood, but because Hollywood deals with— women who were victims 10, 15, 20 years ago are famous today, so they get to have a louder voice when they come forward, so bravo for them for doing it. And I’m glad Eliza did that.
It’s just heartbreaking that it happened to her. I know the other party — not well, he hasn’t worked for me since then. The fact that this was happening under our noses and we didn’t know about it, 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 a predator or an abuser knows that that mechanism is there, that it’s encouraged, and that there’s no shame around it, and that there will be consequences. I think we all collectively, just as the human race, have to do that. I don’t think this is a Hollywood problem. I think that Hollywood is in the unique position of actually shining a spotlight on it, as Hollywood has historically done on a lot of social issues. It’s kind of one of the things we do and do well.
This is a great moment in history, unfortunately it’s founded on personal tragedy for so many of these women. This is not a reckoning for Hollywood, this is not a reckoning for America, this is a reckoning for the human race. This shit has been going on since Day 1. 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 — and maybe out of this can come some education that can pull some man who would otherwise go down that path back from the brink as well. Because I think a lot of it has to come from some kind of lack of empathy, they’re clearly not feeling what this is going to mean for this person further down the line. Hopefully we’ll be making films about this stuff and we’ll put something in place as industry practice to do it as much as we can to prevent it. Because this is happening right now. Directors are historically pretty oblivious to the interpersonal things that are happening on their set, because they are just focused — and I’m probably one of the worst offenders of that, being focused on what I’m doing creatively. But had I known about it, there would’ve been no mercy. Now, especially that I have daughters, there’s really no mercy.”