James Cameron, legendary director of “The Terminator” and “Avatar,” praised the bravery of Eliza Dushku in coming forward to speak out regarding the molestation she experienced on the set of his 1994 film “True Lies.”
“Eliza is very brave for speaking up,” he said at the Television Critics Association press tour Saturday, also noting that she is one of many women speaking out about past abuse. “I think this has been endemic throughout human systems — it’s just heartbreaking that it happened to her.”
Cameron was speaking in response to Eliza Dushku’s account of being sexually assaulted by stunt coordinator Joel Kramer while shooting “True Lies.” Dushku described being “groomed” by Kramer at the age of 12, before being taken to a hotel room and molested by him.
Cameron, speaking to the press, lamented “the fact that this was happening under our noses and we didn’t know about it,” and added that “I know the other party — not well. He hasn’t worked for me since then.”
Later, he added, “directors are historically pretty oblivious to the interpersonal stuff that’s happening on their set,” Cameron said. “Had I known about it, there would have been no mercy.”
Cameron said the culture of harassment and assault was much larger than just a Hollywood problem, but that the changing culture, allowing victims to finally be heard, was encouraging. “This is a great moment in history. Unfortunately it’s founded on personal tragedy. This is a reckoning for the human race. This shit’s been going on since Day One.”
Cameron also said he hoped men would learn from what’s currently going on, and perhaps avoid going down that path. “A lot of it has to come from a lack of empathy. […] The psychological consequences have to be understood.”
Cameron appeared at the Television Critics Association press tour to discuss his upcoming non-fiction AMC special devoted to science fiction. “James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction” will premiere in 2018.