True Lies director James Cameron commended actress Eliza Dushku for her bravery following a Facebook post Saturday, where she says she was sexually assaulted by the film’s stunt coordinator when she was 12-years-old. Dushku’s account of the assault is the latest major revelation of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, which began October 5 when The New York Times published an exposé revealing sexual harassment allegations against former Weinstein Company boss Harvey Weinstein.
Following another investigation by The New Yorker a few days later, Weinstein was soon ushered out of his company and effectively out of the business entirely, as nearly two dozen actresses – including Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale and Gwyneth Paltrow – came forward with their own allegations of harassment, assault, and rape against the deposed studio mogul. As the Weinstein allegations continued to increase by the dozens, more victims of harassment and violence soon came forward, claiming sexual misconduct by the likes of actor Kevin Spacey and director Brett Ratner, as well as television journalists Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer.
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As more sexual misconduct allegations surfaced in Hollywood as well as the area of U.S. politics, the #MeToo movement to end sexual harassment and violence gained substantial momentum, encouraging survivors from all walks of life to come forward with their stories. On Saturday, Dushku, whose credits include the TV series Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse, accused then-36-year-old stunt coordinator Joel Kramer of sexually assaulting her at age 12 while she was working on the 1994 Cameron action adventure True Lies, in which she played Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis’ daughter. Kramer responded to the allegations by denying the assault ever happened.
According to Deadline, Cameron was asked to comment on Dushku’s revelations during his Television Critics Association press event Saturday for his upcoming AMC series James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction. Cameron reportedly started by saying, “I just heard about it, but obviously Eliza is very brave for speaking up, and I think all the women are that are speaking up and calling for a reckoning now.”
Calling what happened to Dushku “heartbreaking,” the director noted that he knows the stunt coordinator, although “not well,” and that he hasn’t worked on a film of his since. Cameron also spoke at length about the need for change to protect victims of sexual harassment and violence, and let predators know their time is up. He said:
“I think this is a great moment in history, unfortunately, it’s founded on personal tragedies for so many of these women. This is not a reckoning for Hollywood, this is not a reckoning for Americans, this is a reckoning for the human race. This shit’s been going on since day one…Hopefully, we will put something in place as an industry practice to do as much as we can.”
Deadline reported it was clear “Cameron felt troubled on a personal level” by the Dushku news. Saying he didn’t know of the incident because of his deep involvement in the creative process of the film, Cameron didn’t mince words about what would have happened at the time if he would have found out about what happened to Dushku. He said:
“Directors are historically pretty oblivious to the interpersonal things that are happening on their sets. Had I known about it, there would have been no mercy. Now especially that I have daughters, there would really have been no mercy.”
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