Testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, actor Terry Crews revealed that he turned down a role in The Expendables 4 after being asked by producer Avi Lerner to drop his sexual harassment claims against Adam Venit. Crews alleges that Lerner warned him of vague "troubles" arising if he didn't withdraw his civil suit.
Standing 6'3" and weighing in at 245 pounds, Terry Crews is not the sort of person who typically comes to mind when one imagines a target of sexual harassment. It was for this reason that the Brooklyn Nine-Nine star came forward in 2017, at the height of the #MeToo movement, to show that even men famed for playing tough guys were not immune to the problem of men in power abusing their authority. Crews revealed that he had been inappropriately touched by an unnamed individual, in full view of Crews' wife, at a party in 2016. The individual was later identified as agent Adam Venit, who represents Expendables franchise creator Sylvester Stallone.
Deadline reported on Crews' testimony, which was delivered in relation to the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights - a bill which was passed two years ago to provide specific rights for the victims of sexual assault at the Federal level. The video of Crews' testimony, which was aired live on C-Span, can be viewed below.
WATCH - @terrycrews full opening statement: "I am honored to use my platform and story to help create additional civil rights protections for survivors across the nation under the Sexual Assault #SurvivorsBillofRights."— CSPAN (@cspan) June 26, 2018
Full video here: https://t.co/RGjyB1WSAm pic.twitter.com/ezi14zs3mY
"Hollywood definitely has been a problem area, simply because so many people view this as a dream. And what happens is, someone has power over these dreams," Crews stated. "And what happens also is that you get tricked into thinking that this type of behavior is expected, that it’s part of the job, that this harassment, abuse, even rape is part of your job description."
When asked why he didn't approach authorities about the incident at the time it occurred, Crews claimed, mirroring the words of so many other victims of sexual harassment, that he feared that he wouldn't be believed. Worse yet, he believed he would be laughed at because of his reputation as a tough-guy and the prevailing attitudes that men - especially tall, muscular ones - cannot be the victim of sexual assault.
"I probably would have been laughed out of the police station," Crews said. "A year later, once the #MeToo movement took full swing, it was safe to come out. When you are victimized, you are now behind enemy lines and you are trying to find a way out … You’re trying to find your way to safety. No one around is going to help you. No one is going to believe you."
While the outcome of Crews' lawsuit has yet to be determined, and the status of The Expendables 4 itself is in question at this juncture, there is one thing that cannot be disputed. Terry Crews is to be commended for having come forward and becoming an advocate for every other man who has been the victim of sexual assault. Some actors only play at being brave and noble on camera, but, by his actions, Terry Crews has proven himself a real hero.