At 240 pounds and 6’ 2’’, Terry Crews has a message for anyone who thinks his size should have prevented him from being sexually assaulted: “Were you there?”
On Sunday, the "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" actor blasted comedian D.L. Hughley, who had mocked him for allegedly being groped at a party by a Hollywood executive. In a video published on YouTube in mid-August, an interviewer asked for Hughley’s opinion on “the whole Terry Crews thing.”
“I think it’s hard for me to think that a dude with all those muscles can’t tell an agent to not touch his ass,” Hughley said, while the interviewer laughed.
“I think that now everybody’s so into this notion that, ‘It happened to me too,’” Hughley added. “Hey motherfucker, God gave you muscles so you could say no. And mean it.”
On Sunday, Crews tweeted out that video — along with the question to Hughley, “Are you implying I ‘wanted’ to be sexually assaulted?”
In October 2017, shortly after the New York Times and The New Yorker published articles alleging that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein had paid off sexual harassment accusers for decades, Crews revealed that he, too, had dealt with sexual harassment.
“This whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to ME,” he tweeted, before going on to allege that a powerful Hollywood executive had “groped my privates” at a party. “I was going to kick his ass right then — but I thought twice about how the whole thing would appear. “‘240 lbs. Black Man stomps out Hollywood Honcho’ would be the headline the next day.”
In doing so, Crews helped redefine the #MeToo movement and highlight the ubiquity and severity of sexual violence. If a former NFL player could be allegedly groped by an executive and feel unable to come forward about it, is anyone safe from sexual misconduct?
After Crews’ tweets on Sunday, Hughley appeared to stand by what he said in the August video. He tweeted at Crews, “You saw the video!”
“Sir, you said I should have pushed him back, or restrained him, and I DID ALL THOSE THINGS... but you act like I didn’t,” Crews shot back. “Were you there?”
“That’s different than slapping the shit outta him,” Hughley replied.
That retort evidently gave Crews some ideas: “So sir… If you truly feel that is a correct way to deal with toxic behavior… Should I slap the shit out of you?” he tweeted.
Hughley apparently retreated to Instagram. Later that day, he posted a photo and tagged it with the hashtags #isaidwhatisaid, #notakebacks, and #itiswhatitis.
Crews also went after 50 Cent, film producer Tariq Nasheed, and music mogul Russell Simmons for what he considered minimizing his story. While Simmons asked Crews to “give the agent a pass,” 50 Cent — in now-deleted posts — mocked Crews shortly after he testified to a Senate committee about his alleged sexual assault. The rapper posted an Instagram photo of Crews, shirtless, with the words, “I got raped. My wife just watched.”
On Sunday, Simmons said he “made the terrible mistake of advising him [Crews] wrongly.” He added, “He is a hero for all of us."
Crews didn’t name the executive who allegedly groped him at the time, but he later filed charges and a lawsuit against Adam Venit, an executive at William Morris Endeavor for assault, battery, and sexual harassment, among other things. Los Angeles prosecutors declined to press charges against Venit, as the statute of limitations for the alleged incident had expired, and Crews settled with Venit and William Morris Endeavors in September 2018.
Cover image: Terry Crews attends the nominations for the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The 76th annual Golden Globe Awards will be held on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP).