Amid the slew of allegations of sexual harassment and assault charges in Hollywood, Terry Crews is speaking out about his own traumatic experience.
In a sit-down with Michael Strahan of Good Morning America, the former NFL player detailed the alleged incident that led him to file a report to the Los Angeles Police Department against a “high level Hollywood executive.”
On Wednesday’s interview, Crews, 49, named his alleged assailant as Adam Venit, head of the motion picture department at William Morris Endeavor (WME) and an agent to many celebrities, who reportedly went on leave from the company earlier this month. WME confirmed to ABC News that the agent “has been suspended following the internal investigation into the matter.”
“He’s connected to probably everyone I know in the business,” Crews explained.
Crews claimed that the executive was acting strange when they first met at a party in February 2016.
“I’m looking at him, and he’s basically staring at me,” said the actor. “And he’s sticking his tongue out, and it’s overtly sexual kind of tongue moves. I’m sitting there like, it’s a party, it’s packed, the whole thing, and I’m looking like, is this a joke?”
Crews continued, “I don’t understand, it was actually so bizarre, and he keeps coming over to me and I stick my hand out, and he literally takes his hand, and puts it, and squeezes my genitals. I jumped back, like ‘Hey! Hey!’ and he’s still licking his tongue out, and all this stuff and I go, ‘Dude, what are you doing? What are you doing?'”
But the interaction allegedly didn’t end there. Crews said Venit approached him again, and that’s when he had enough.
“Then he comes back again, and he just won’t stop,” he said. “Then I really got forceful, pushed him back. He bumps into all the other party-goers and he starts giggling and laughing — and let me tell you, I have never felt more emasculated, more objectified. I was horrified.”
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine star said his wife, Rebecca King-Crews, who was present during the incident, was the only thing that kept him from getting physical.
“When I looked at him, it was rage. And when I say rage, I felt like I could punch a hole in his head,” Crews said of Venit. “But this is the deal, my wife told me three years earlier, ‘Terry, you can never handle any situation like this with violence. You are a target. You can be baited and pulled.”
The former athlete said despite being so angry that he “almost ripped the steering wheel off” of his car as he drove home, his wife reassured him and told him she was proud of him.
“That’s one thing I knew — being a large African American man in America, I would immediately be seen as a thug,” he said.
Crews said he had dismissed the incident until the claims against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein put sexual assault and harassment in the news.
“When the Weinstein thing started happening, I got PTSD,” he said. “I was going, ‘Oh my god, this exact thing happened to me. I understand why they won’t come forward.’ And I’m gonna tell you, a lot of times people go, ‘Why didn’t you come forward sooner?’ When a person of forward breaks that boundary and violates that boundary, you’re a prisoner of war.”
He said he will not stand for people asking him why he didn’t come forward sooner or blaming the victim.
“I will not be shamed. I did nothing wrong, nothing,” he said.
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In addition to the claims against Hollywood actors and producers in recent months, Crews said he felt compelled to share his story after hearing women speak about how they were called liars after coming forward with their own stories of sexual assault and harassment when he was a key note speaker at an event for the Center for Community Solutions.
“What kind of man would I be to tell my kids, ‘If someone touches you where you don’t want to be touched, tell someone,’ and then I don’t do it?,” he said. “Let me tell you something, it freed me. I knew instantly that I had to tell my story so that other people could be free.”