Actor Terry Crews revealed details about being groped by “one of the most powerful men in Hollywood,” telling Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan Wednesday that the “overtly sexual” harassment was unrelenting and horrifying.
“He’s connected to probably everyone I know in the business,” Crews said about agent Adam Venit, head of WME’s Motion Picture Group, whom he claims groped him during an event in Hollywood last year.
“I did not know this man. I have never had a conversation with him, ever. … The first time I ever had an interaction with him was at this event,” the Brooklyn Nine-Nine star said of Venit, whose clients list includes A-listers Adam Sandler, Diane Keaton, Eddie Murphy, Kevin James, Rob Lowe, Steve Martin, Sylvester Stallone, Gal Gadot, Emma Stone, and Vince Vaughn.
“I’m looking at him and he’s basically staring at me and he’s sticking his tongue out. Just overtly sexual kind of tongue moves. It’s a party, it’s packed, the whole thing,” Crews said. “And I’m looking like, ‘Is this a joke? I don’t understand.’ It was actually so bizarre. And he keeps coming over to me. I stick my hand out and he literally takes his hand and puts it, squeezes my genitals. And I jump back like, ‘Hey, hey!’ … I go, ‘Dude, what are you doing?'”
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Crews, who says he his wife was standing next to him when the alleged assault took place, claims Venit was unrelenting in his harassment.
“And then he comes back again and he just won’t stop. And then I really got forceful, pushed him back, he bumps into all the other partygoers and he starts giggling and laughing,” Crews said of Venit. “I have never felt more emasculated, more objectified. I was horrified.”
Crews said “I went over to Adam [Sandler] right then and there and said, ‘Man, come get your boy. What is his problem?’” Crews said he and Sandler thought Venit’s alleged behavior was “bizarre.”
Last week, the 49-year-old star filed a police report with the LAPD over the alleged assault, and told TMZ that he plans to file a lawsuit as well. Venit was placed on leave earlier this month, following an investigation into the alleged assault.
“People need to be held accountable,” Crews said. “This is the deal about Hollywood. It is an abuse of power. This guy, again, he’s one of the most powerful man in Hollywood, and he looked at me at the end as if, ‘Who is going to believe you?’”
“When a person of power breaks that boundary…you are a prisoner of war,” Crews continued. You’re in a camp, because you’re trying to figure out when is the right time to come out. Then you finally find freedom and someone says, ‘Well it must not be that bad. You should’ve came out sooner.'”
Speaking out, Crews said, was more about protecting his children from would-be predators and giving himself a sense of freedom.
“I said, ‘Man, what kind of man would I be to tell my kids, ‘If someone touches you where you don’t want to be touched, tell someone, tell someone,’ and then I don’t do it,” Crews said. “Let me tell you something, it freed me. I knew instantly that I had to tell my story so that other people could be free.”