Facebook Twitter Comments Slate Plus

Eliza Dushku’s Agent and On-Set Legal Guardian Both Back Her Account of Sexual Assault During the Filming of True Lies

Eliza Dushku attends New York Comic-Con in 2015.
Eliza Dushku attends New York Comic-Con in 2015.
Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

Several people involved in the making of True Lies have backed up Eliza Dushku’s allegation that stunt coordinator Joel Kramer sexually assaulted her when she was 12 years old. Kramer flatly denies the allegations. On Saturday, Sue Booth-Forbes, Dushku’s legal guardian on the set of the film—minors are required to have a parent or legal guardian on set at all times—told Deadline that “Joel Kramer did what Eliza said he did.” What’s more, she said she reported Kramer at the time for behaving inappropriately, to no effect:

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. 

JoAnne Colonna, Dushku’s agent during True Lies, also confirmed with Deadline that Dushku told her about the alleged assault at the time. Colonna, like Booth-Forbes, says she reported Kramer’s allegedly inappropriate behavior, in this case to executive producer Rae Sanchini:

I’d called Rae multiple times because there was such inappropriateness going on the set. There was sexual talk to and at her at various occasions. She was a very feisty, precocious 12-year-old, a tomboy—they may have felt she was one of the boys but it was really inappropriate from the top.

Colonna was the “tough adult female friend” Dushku remembered confiding in in her Facebook post, and Colonna confirmed that she went to set to confront Kramer, telling him, by her account, “You are going to stay the fuck away from her.” But according to Colonna, “Nobody really did anything,” despite reporting the assault to Sanchini. Sanchini denied knowing about any misconduct on Kramer’s part in a statement to Deadline:

I want to state for the record that, until yesterday, I was unaware of any instances or claims of sexual harassment or assault against Eliza. Had I known, I would have taken immediate and forceful action. My thoughts are with Eliza and I hope that by coming forward it will help her heal, as well as empower others to do the same.

Finally, Peter Conti, a longtime friend of Dushku’s, also told Deadline that Dushku confided in him about the alleged assault at the time it happened, leading to a confrontation between Conti and Kramer at the film’s premiere. Colonna corroborated Conti’s account of the premiere, recalling that she had to get security to prevent a fight between the two men. Colonna and Conti also corroborated that Dushku feared retaliation for speaking out at the time, both in terms of harm to her career and physical harm from the stunts Kramer oversaw. But now things seem to be finally changing, as Booth-Forbes wrote in her statement:

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. 

One more thing

You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.

Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.

Join Slate Plus

We Need to Talk About Your Ad Blocker

Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker.

Enable Ads on Slate

Want to Block Ads But Still Support Slate?

By joining Slate Plus you support our work and get exclusive content. And you'll never see this message again.

Join Slate Plus
Illustration depicting a colorful group of people using an array of mobile devices