[Warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.]
Over the weekend, actress Eliza Dushku added her voice to the chorus of #MeToo stories revealing the disturbing prevalence of sexual abuse and assault in the entertainment industry. In a heartbreaking post, Dushku described being sexually assaulted by stunt coordinator Joel Kramer when she was only 12 years old on the set of True Lies, a post that’s prompted responses from the film’s director, James Cameron (“there’s really no mercy now”) and her co-star Jamie Lee Curtis (“all abusers will be held accountable”). Now, two more women have come forward in Deadline with allegations of sexual abuse by the longtime stuntman, who worked as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stunt double for many years.
One accusation comes through stuntwoman Laura Albert, who says that Kramer engaged in statutory rape with her younger sister’s 16-year-old friend when the two came to visit her on the set of the 1997 film Virus. In a modus operandi chillingly similar to the assault on Dushku, Albert says Kramer lured the young woman to his hotel room after inviting her and Albert’s 15-year-old sister to go swimming in his hotel pool. Albert’s sister left the hotel after Kramer allegedly pulled out his penis in the pool; her friend stayed. “Even today, she feels guilty for having left her friend,” Albert says.
Contacted by Deadline, Kramer doesn’t deny that the encounter happened, although he disputes Albert’s assertion that intercourse was involved, and says the “fool[ing] around” was consensual. When an infuriated Albert called the police, North Carolina police said there was nothing they could do, given that 16 is the age of consent in the state. (Kramer was 39 at the time.) Another stuntman who worked on the film corroborates Albert’s account, saying, “I was told by Laura and her sister that Joel had sex with a 16-year-old girl, and to me that was morally wrong ... It might be legal, but as a moral issue, it’s gross ... I told who I could tell, but nothing happened.”
Meanwhile, another anonymous woman, who had just begun her career as a stunt person at the time, has also come forward to allege that Kramer forced her to perform oral sex on him after a party in the San Fernando Valley in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s. “I did not tell anyone, because I was frightened, scared and ashamed. I also knew that if I were to report this to the stunt group, the police or SAG, I would have no chance in a career as a stunt woman,” she says. Kramer denies this allegation as well, complaining to Deadline of a “witch hunt” and claiming, “I am not this damned A-hole the media and others [portray] me as.” Yesterday, Kramer’s agency WPA dropped him over Dushku’s allegations, a story also reported in Deadline.