On Tuesday, actor and sexual assault survivor Terry Crews testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. The Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Expendables veteran spoke at length about the bill itself, as well as the culture of “toxic masculinity” he has experienced — both as a victim and as a participant — in and outside of Hollywood. Following Crews’ moving opening statement, however, it was his exchange with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) that caught some people’s attention.
According to Deadline, Crews claimed Expendables franchise producer Avi Lerner called his manager to request that he drop his claims against Hollywood executive Adam Venit, the man who allegedly groped the actor at a party. Lerner specifically asked that Crews drop the case “in order to appear in the fourth installment of the action film.” When Klobuchar asked if Crews still had a role in Expendables 4, he said he did not:
“No. Simply because this same producer is under his own… investigation,” said Crews. “Abusers protect abusers — and this is one thing I had to decide, whether I was going to draw the line on. Am I going to be a part of this or am I gonna take a stand, and there are projects I had to turn down.”
(In May, Lerner’s Millennium Films and Nu Image Entertainment were sued by a former female employee who claimed she and other women there were “subjected to a discriminatory, harassing and misogynistic work environment.” In response, Lerner said the claims were “all lies” and “a joke.”)
During his opening statement, Crews described “how toxic masculinity permeates culture” through his own example. “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.”