One of 2017’s biggest legacies is the #MeToo moment. Ignited by the Harvey Weinstein scandal which broke in October, it inspired countless women, and a smaller number of men, to come forward and admit that they had been victims of sexual assault. However, not all of these victims have received the same reaction to their allegations and nowhere is that more apparent than in the way Terry Crews has been treated.
After Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment, other big names in Hollywood were outed by their victims – the majority of whom were women. But Crews made the brave decision to open up about the fact that he was groped by one of Hollywood’s elite at a party in 2016. He said that he never publicized the incident out of fear of retaliation. It then emerged that his alleged abuser was Adam Venit, head of WME.
“I understand and empathize with those who have remained silent,” Crews wrote on Twitter last year. “But Harvey Weinstein is not the only perpetrator. Hollywood is not the only business we’re (sic) this happens, and to the casualties of this behavior – you are not alone.”
Because there is still so much stigma associated with male victims of sexual assault, Crews was widely praised for his decision to open up about the abuse he allegedly suffered and was subsequently named as Time‘s Person of the Year for giving voice to this smaller group of victims.
Following Crews’ allegation, Venit was demoted by WME and suspended for a month, however, he was able to return to work, and still represents many of the who’s who of Hollywood; including Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Kevin James, Steve Martin, and Diane Keaton.
But Crews was not willing to accept this as a good enough punishment and decided to sue the high-level executive for sexual assault.
The actor said that he decided to open up about his experience after he saw Havey Weinstein’s alleged victims being discredited on social media, telling Time, “I always have felt women have been able to take care of themselves, 100%, But men need to hold other men accountable. That’s my thing. I came up in the cult of masculinity, in football and the sports world and entertainment.”
“You’re in places and guys are saying the wildest thing. People need to be called on that.”
However, because Crews is a muscular man, many people have questioned why he simply didn’t use his impressive physical strength to stop Venit at the time. This criticism has only increased following the release of Terry Crew’s court statement about his assault this week.
One of the many critics who lashed out at the 49-year-old was rapper 50 Cent. In a now-deleted Instagram post, he mocked Crews with pictures implying that he was weak because he was assaulted and lampooned the fact that his wife was also present at the party. The rapper captioned it, “LOL. What the f*ck is going on out here man? Terry: ‘I froze in fear’. They would have had to take me to jail. Get the strap.”
Instead of rising to 50 Cent’s bait, however, Crews did this when asked about the Instagram post by TMZ:
Terry Crews Takes High Road After 50 Cent Mocks His Sexual Assault Claim
Now that’s how you handle trolls.
“I proved that size doesn’t matter when it comes to sexual assault,” the actor graciously said.
The statement Crews gave this week was given at a hearing on the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, which he said, “gives survivors the right to have time to distance themselves from the immediate trauma before making the difficult decision to report the assault to law enforcement.”
This is Crews’ powerful opening testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Crews told the committee, “The assault lasted only minutes, but what he was effectively telling me while he held my genitals in his hand was that he held the power. That he was in control.”
“This is how toxic masculinity permeates culture,” the 59-year-old added. “As I shared my story, I was told over and over that this was not abuse. This was just a joke. This was just horseplay. But I can say one man’s horseplay is another man’s humiliation.
“And I chose to tell my story and share my experience to stand in solidarity with millions of other survivors around the world. That I know how hard it is to come forward, I know the shame associated with the assault. It happened to me.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein said that Crews’ answer to her question about why he didn’t retaliate says a lot about society.
She wrote on Twitter, “I asked @TerryCrews why he didn’t use his considerable strength to fight back when he was sexually assaulted. His answer is a powerful reminder of how victims are too often forced into silence to avoid damaging their careers or reputations. We need to hear the truth.”
Crews said, “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… I have seen many, many young black men who were provoked into violence, and they were in prison, or they were killed.”
Thankfully, the senator’s tweet was met with widespread support on the micro-blogging website, opening up a subsequent conversation about white privilege. Had 50 Cent taken the time to think about what might have happened to him if he had been in Crews’ position and retaliated physically, he would have likely never posted such an insensitive post on Instagram in the first place.
“He might be able to lift a car, but his true strength isn’t in his physique, it’s in his head and his heart,” wrote @LBI_Author. “He was shown this time and time again. It takes courage to discuss that in public. Thank you @terrycrews – sometimes not using strength takes the most strength of all.”
“Why would you even ask @terrycrews that question, though?” added @RBMillado. “You know he could have been apprehended by security and tossed into jail for using his ‘considerable strength’. I would counter that using his VOICE showed immeasurable strength.”
“Many people don’t see the connection between self-defense and white privilege. I can defend myself without thinking twice about how my actions will be recounted. Others don’t have this luxury,” wrote @matt_huffman.
Because of how controversial 50 Cent’s post was, he was forced to delete it after receiving widespread backlash on social media.
However, he is defiant about his comments and subsequently posted a picture of himself “recovering from having my sense of humor removed” on Twitter.
Horrifyingly, the 42-year-old’s tweet on the matter was praised by some of his fans with @RodneyChuck writing, “I thought it was hilarious. 50 has mastered trolling. Keeps him relevant.”
Others, however, simply pointed out that 50 Cent’s trolling reflects the very reason why so many victims don’t speak out about their assaults.
“As someone who was a fan of 50 cent since I was a kid, I’m disgusted at his ignorance and insensitive response to Terry Crew’s [sic] sexual assault story,” wrote @lovelayxo. “To laugh and make jokes about such a serious matter is one of the main reasons why sexual assault victims are afraid to speak up.”
We hope 50 Cent eventually sees sense and applaud Crews’ for his bravery. Hopefully, his story will inspire others to bring their abusers to justice.