Terry Crews testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning.
He told lawmakers at Capitol Hill that he declined a role in “Expendables 4” after being pressured by Avi Lerner, the film’s producer, to drop a sexual assault lawsuit against his former talent agency, WME. The actor alleges WME agent Adam Venit sexually assaulted him in 2016.
Lerner was sued for sexual harassment, hostile work environment and gender discrimination by a woman.
“It was a project I had to turn down,” Crews told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Abusers protect abusers and this is one thing I had to decide whether I was going to draw the line.”
The actor was one of three people called to testify at a hearing about the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights.
Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Crews if he faced retaliation after coming forward with details on the assault. The actor and former NFL player said he wanted to against Venit but feared it could derail his career.
“As a black man in America, you only have a few shots at success, you only have a few chances to make yourself a viable member of the community,” Crews said.
“The assault lasted only minutes, but what he was effectively telling me while he was holding my genitals in his hand was that he held the power, that he was in control,” Crews said in the statement.
At another point, he said, “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… 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.”
His appearance on Capitol Hill was in partnership with Rise, a group founded by rape survivor Amanda Nguyen, who testified alongside Crews. Nguyen was instrumental in the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights being signed into law in 2016.
Ivie is a Nigerian-American, native New Yorker, and journalist covering culture. Usually on-air, on deadline, and on point. @ivieani