Over the weekend, actress Eliza Dushku came out with the accusation that she had been sexually molested by Hollywood stunt coordinator Joel Kramer while working on the 1994 action film True Lies when she was 12-years-old. In her account, of which she went into horrifying detail, Dushku says that she confided her ordeal with an female adult friend who then confronted Kramer. As a result, that same day she was coincidentally injured in a stunt gone wrong that left her with broken ribs.
Dushku’s legal guardian on the film, a woman named Sue Booth-Forbes, was the adult in question and has now come forward with a full statement backing up her allegations, calling Kramer a “pedophile” who “must face consequences.” At the time, Dushku’s mother, Judith Ann Rasmussen, was employed as a political science professor and therefore unable to accompany her daughter for filming. Booth-Forbes, who now serves as a director for a writer’s retreat, claims that she attempted to report the abuse but was met with “blank stares” that suggested this wasn’t an isolated incident.
You can read her full statement below:
Eliza Dushku is telling the truth.
I was her legal guardian and took seriously my need to have her in my sight at all times, which was often difficult to do. 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 was at the hospital and can verify that she was hurt and in pain with breaks/cracks to her ribs. Surely they have medical records somewhere to prove that.
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.
It has been 25 years, and I am grateful for the current efforts to stop this madness. I am so proud of Eliza for writing her eloquent, accurately detailed account of the trauma she suffered at his hands. So much about her journey since then can be explained by her feeling powerless to protect herself and prevent his abusing her. He creeped me out and sexualized everything; in fact that was the atmosphere of the set the entire time I was there. I did the only thing I knew to do then — report his behavior to someone with some clout, and that went nowhere. I look back now and realize that Eliza’s natural, adorable feistiness had taken on a patina of defensiveness/protectiveness for good cause.
As I look back on the experience, there should never have been a child on that set because of the misogyny, sexual language and attitudes of the crowd of immature white men who made up the vast majority of the crew. She was treated like one of the boys, not a 12-year-old girl. I also look back wishing I had done more but forgiving myself a bit because there was really nothing I could do given the power structure of the movie industry. Everyone one involved has to turn a blind eye to such things in order to keep their jobs and not get in the way of the movie being made. Lord have mercy if something stopped the moneymaking wheels from turning.
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.
As I write this, I can feel a bit of the paranoia caused by associating my name, hence my business, with this volatile subject. No wonder people over time haven’t told their truth. Such unscrupulous, powerful, narcissistic, men without boundaries will do anything they have to to protect themselves, their reputations, each other, and most significantly their money. I have to wonder what could they do to me, my reputation, and my business.
But this time I am refusing to allow myself to be intimidated. Joel Kramer did what Eliza said he did. He is a pedophile, and he must face the consequences.
Dushku’s mother and brother have likewise since come forward to confirm her story. It’s unclear how many underage girls Kramer had contact with over the years but the thought alone is chilling.