It has been a very busy weekend on the sexual misconduct scandal front with numerous new names being caught up, and other earlier ones being expanded upon with fresh allegations.
Arguably the most surprising was the reveal by former “Buffy” and “Dollhouse” actress Eliza Dushku who, in a lengthy Facebook post, has accused famed stunt co-ordinator Joel Kramer of sexually molesting her when she was 12 years old during the filming of James Cameron’s “True Lies”.
Kramer, who has long been Schwarzenegger personal stunt double, was the film’s stunt coordinator. Dushku also claims that after Kramer was confronted by an adult she’d confided in, he intentionally injured her, breaking her ribs in a stunt that went wrong during the filming of the famed Harrier Jet scene.
Kramer tells Deadline: “These are outlandish, manipulated lies. I never sexually molested her. I’m sick to my stomach. It’s not true. I think she’s making this up in her imagination. This is all lies. Lies, lies, lies.”
Director James Cameron has commended Dushku. Appearing at the TCA on Saturday, just after the story broke, Cameron said (via Variety) he had no idea what happened until this story and that: “Eliza is very brave for speaking up. I think all the women are that are speaking up and calling for a reckoning now (are brave)… Had I known about it, there would have been no mercy. I have three daughters. There’d really be no mercy now.”
The claims against Kramer hit as new allegations have arisen over Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee. Early in the week Lee was accused by former carers of inappropriate sexual behaviour and assault. Further allegations have now surfaced from a female masseuse at a Chicago hotel over an incident last year.
A source alleges to The Daily Mail that Stan groped her and asked her for sex which the woman refused, he then started to masturbate while she was massaging him. She made a complaint to his people about the behavior which has ‘been going on for years’ and took place before Lee’s wife died. Lee’s lawyer categorically denies these allegations.
Golden Globe award-winning comedian Aziz Ansari has been accused of sexual misconduct by a 23-year-old female photographer who claims she went on a date with him last year. Feminist website Babe posted the lengthy article in which the source goes into details of her encounter which allegedly took place last year after they met at an Emmy Awards afterparty.
Unlike other misconduct scandals of late though, this one is proving even more divisive in reaction because the source goes into such great detail that it paints an unflattering picture of a very awkward and clumsy date, and in the process people are responding to the details quite differently as it brings up talk of the line between coercion and consent, between ‘being pushy’ and sexual assault.
Then there’s a New York Times report in which more than a dozen male models and assistants allege they were sexually exploited by famed photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber including “unnecessary nudity” and “coercive sexual behaviour”. Additionally, The Los Angeles police department has revealed to THR that Steven Seagal is currently under investigation for sexual assault following accusations made by a number of actresses back in November.
Finally, the James Franco allegations have expanded to include more names past the initial ones that hit right after the Golden Globes. At least five women have now come forward to The L.A. Times to accuse Franco of sexually inappropriate or exploitative behavior, many of which were former acting students of Franco’s that attended either Playhouse West or his ‘Studio 4’ acting courses – the latter of which abruptly closed last fall.