In the wake of Eliza Dushku’s shocking allegations of molestation on the set of True Lies made over the weekend, many have spoken out in support of the actress. Her guardian from the set confirmed her story and director James Cameron commented that he was unaware, but would have given “no mercy” had he been while making the film. But the strongest voice to this point has to be her film mother, Jamie Lee Curtis.
In a powerful and alarming essay, Curtis talks about Dushku’s accusations, her history of working with children on film sets, and the unique problem it presents for films crews. For Curtis, Dushku’s situation adds a horrible wrinkle to the ongoing harassment conversation we’re having about Hollywood according to HuffPost:
We have all started to awaken to the fact that the terrible abuses now commonplace in daily news reports have been going on for a very long time. Unconscionably, those reports frequently come along with claims by the perpetrators that, as adults, those perpetrated against had some part in it.
Eliza’s story has now awakened us from our denial slumber to a new, horrific reality. The abuse of children
The history of child actors and their treatment on film sets is littered with some heinous and tragic stories. One of the most notable is the accident from the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie that took the life of actor Vic Morrow and two young child actors.
The incident raised questions about the safety of actors and the rules concerning child actors, including labor violations made by the crew. But what Dushku’s allegations hint at is far more sinister according to Curtis:
We’ve recently heard reports of agents abusing their young actor clients and now this story from Miss Dushku. What compounds the difficulty here is that the stunt coordinator in question was literally in charge of our lives, our safety. Stunts always require an enormous amount of trust and on that movie, in particular, we all were often suspended by wires and harnesses, very high in the air. In my case, I was suspended under a helicopter by a wire, holding onto the hand of the man who is now being accused of abuse.
I hope today that what can come from all of these exposures are new guidelines and safe spaces for people ― regardless of age, gender, race or job ― to share their concerns and truths and that all abusers will be held accountable.
All of us must take some responsibility that the loose and relaxed camaraderie that we share with our young performers has carried with it a misguided assumption that they are adults in an adult world, capable of making adult choices.
Curtis closes her essay by hoping that this new wave of openness and bravery will ensure that no one has to “wait 25 years” to tell their story again.