James Cameron has spoken out about Eliza Dushku‘s allegation that one of Hollywood’s leading stunt coordinators sexually molested her during the filming of Cameron’s 1994’s True Lies when she was just 12-years-old.
While speaking at a Television Critics Association event in Pasadena, California, on Saturday, the 63-year-old director said that although he was unaware of the alleged action at the time, if he had known “there would have been no mercy.”
“Directors are historically pretty oblivious to the inter-personal things that are happening on the set, because they’re focused on what they’re doing creatively, but had I known about there would have been no mercy,” he said. “I have daughters. There really would be no mercy now.”
“Eliza is very brave for speaking up,” he added. “It’s just heartbreaking that it happened to her.”
In an emotional Facebook post on Saturday, Dushku alleged that stunt coordinator Joel Kramer sexually molested her during the filming of True Lies. Dushku claimed she told a handful of people about the alleged incident at the time, including her mother, but said that no one, including herself, “seemed ready to confront taboo subject.”
In a statement to Variety, Kramer denied Dushku’s claims, calling them “absolutely not true.”
The Bring it On actress alleged that although Kramer had been put in charge of insuring her safety on the set — rigging her on wires and harnesses for the action movie’s stunts — she claimed he turned into her abuser. In her Facebook post, she alleged that he coaxed her into his Miami hotel room under the guise of a swim trip at the stunt crew’s pool one night only to strip naked and lay on top of her, rubbing himself all over her until he climaxed.
On the taxi ride home, she claimed he grew aroused again when he put Dushku on his lap in the backseat.
Emphasizing the importance of the #MeToo movement and “all the women who are speaking up and calling for a reckoning,” the Titanic director went on to say that, “going forward it’s important for all industries, certainly Hollywood, to create a safe avenue for people to speak up.”
He also mentioned that important that “anyone that might be a predator or an abuser” know “that the mechanism is there and it’s encouraged and that there is no shame around it and there will be consequences.”
“I don’t think this is a Hollywood problem,” he continued, before adding that “Hollywood is in a unique position of shining a spotlight on it, as Hollywood has done on a lot of social issues. It’s one of the things we do and do well.”
Although Cameron proclaimed that this sexual misconduct reckoning “is a great moment in history” because “this s—has been going on since day one,” he acknowledged the victory has unfortunately been “founded on the personal tragedies for so many of these women.”
“Maybe out of this can come some education that can pull some men who would otherwise be on the path back from the brink as well,” he added. “Because I think a lot of it has to come some kind of lack of empathy, that they’re clearly not feeling what this is going to mean for this person further down the line. I think the psychological consequences have to be understood.”