Following the onslaught of Harvey Weinstein accusers, Terry Crews took to Twitter to tell everyone that sexual harassment and assault happen to men too. He shared details of his alleged experience with WME talent agent Adam Venit on Good Morning America Wednesday — marking the first time Crews has named Venit as the subject of his tweet thread on the issue.
According to the actor, the incident happened at an event in February 2016, which Crews attended with his wife. Venit, Crews explained, represented such A-listers as Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, and Eddie Murphy, adding that even though Venit was connected to many people that Crews knew, Crews had never met him before that night. “I’m looking at him, and he’s basically staring at me, sticking his tongue out, making overtly sexual tongue moves,” Crews said. “It’s a party. It’s packed. I’m looking at him like, ‘Is this a joke?’ And he comes over to me. I stick my hand out, and he literally takes his hand and puts it under mine and squeezes my genitals.”
As he had previously shared on Twitter, Crews said he jumped back, but Venit wouldn’t stop. “He’s still licking his tongue out and all this stuff and I go, ‘Dude, what are you doing?’” Crews said. “And then he comes back again, and he just won’t stop.” Crews said he pushed Venit back, and Venit giggled and laughed.
“I’ve never felt more emasculated — more objectified,” Crews said. “I was horrified.”
The encounter was bizarre, Crews said, and the actor said he even put himself between Venit and his wife, Rebecca King-Crews, to protect her. He said he was at the party for only a half hour but was so enraged afterward that he nearly ripped the steering wheel off his car. His wife calmed him, repeatedly telling him, “I’m so proud of you.”
King-Crews had warned her husband about the way he’s perceived.
“She was the one who kept telling me this kind of thing would happen,” Crews said. “As a large, African-American man, I knew I would be seen as a thug — but I’m not a thug, I’m an artist.”
Crews said his wife was his support system during and after the alleged assault. “She was right there for me, she was right there with me, and she saw the whole thing happen,” he said.
According to Variety, Venit — who has not commented on the allegations against him — is on leave from WME as the agency looks into the matter.
Crews was the first male star to share his assault story in the wake of the Weinstein allegations, prompting some other Hollywood men to come forward with stories of their own.
One of the most notable came last week when Anthony Edwards shared an emotional essay on Medium, detailing allegations of molestation at the hands of producer Gary Goddard. (Goddard has denied the accusations.)
“I met Goddard when I was 12, and he quickly became a dominant force in my life,” Edwards wrote. “He taught me about the value of acting, respect for friendship, and the importance of studying. Pedophiles prey on the weak. My father, who suffered from undiagnosed PTSD from WWII, was not emotionally available. Everyone has the need to bond, and I was no exception. My vulnerability was exploited. I was molested by Goddard, my best friend was raped by him — and this went on for years. The group of us, the gang, stayed quiet.”
Edwards said he found solace in therapy and a support network that has helped him work through the issues that abuse had left behind, and he explained all the things he’s learned about being a victim and survivor, including that he’s not alone, and that one in six men has had an abusive sexual experience before the age of 18.
Goddard denied and refuted Edwards’s claims and a previous lawsuit against him, in a statement from spokesman Sam Singer: “Gary first met Anthony more than 40 years ago. Gary was a mentor, teacher and a friend to Anthony, which makes this story all the more disturbing to him. As to the allegations that Mr. Edwards made in his post today, I can unequivocally deny them on Gary’s behalf. Gary played an important role in helping start Anthony’s acting career and acted as his personal manager. He has nothing but the greatest respect for Anthony as a person. Gary is saddened by the false allegations. The post by Anthony, as well as many of the news stories today reference a legal claim made against Gary approximately four years ago regarding sexual harassment. The complaint was demonstrated to be fraudulent as it was completely fabricated, and ultimately withdrawn by the complainant and his attorneys.”
Though former child star Corey Feldman has been warning everyone about Hollywood’s sexual abuse and pedophilia problem for years, it’s only now that he’s being taken seriously. He had initially written about the abuse he suffered in his 2013 memoir, Coreography, but he declined to name names, for both himself and his late friend, actor Corey Haim, who had reportedly been sexually assaulted on a movie set as a child.
During an interview with Megyn Kelly, Feldman reiterated his claims against talent agent Marty Weiss, whom he named in his book. But in two interviews with Dr. Oz, Feldman revealed two more names: Jon Grissom and Alphy Hoffman.
Grissom was an actor who starred in License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream with Feldman, and had been hired by Feldman’s dad to work at his acting workshop and management company. Feldman wrote about Grissom in his book but changed his name for legal reasons. However, during his appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, Feldman identified Grissom as the alleged molester.
The show’s legal team said it had uncovered Grissom’s arrest record, which reportedly revealed that he had been jailed for child molestation in 2003, currently lives in California, and has not registered as a sex offender. Grissom has not commented on Feldman’s allegations.
On a second appearance on Dr. Oz, Feldman named Hoffman, who ran a popular teen club in Hollywood during the ’80s that attracted names such as Drew Barrymore, Ricky Schroder, and Alyssa Milano. Hoffman was the son of casting director Bobby Hoffman, who was known as a big deal. Feldman said it was fun to go to the parties, at first, but noted that there weren’t a lot of parents present and that he’d also met Haim’s alleged abuser there.
Feldman went on to describe what had happened with Hoffman. “One night I was over there and we were watching a movie, and I passed out while I was watching the movie, and when I woke up, there was a porn on again,” he said. “And I was like, ‘Man, I’m really tired.’ … I remember I could barely walk. I don’t know what I was given at that time, but I know that I was really out of it. And we went to the bedroom, and I was kind of passing in and out of it, and then it was like he started doing the same things to me that Jon [Grissom] had done … I kind of woke up in the middle of it, and I freaked out … I kind of threw him off me and I ran home.”
Fox News reported that Twitter and Instagram pages believed to be Hoffman’s have since been deactivated, a related Facebook page has gone private, and a related Myspace page — showing promotional shots from the teen club, called Alphy’s Soda Pop Club, including a poster featuring Feldman — has been deleted. A website for Bobby Hoffman Casting lists Hoffman as a casting director, but the email address and phone number are no longer in service. A LinkedIn page lists Hoffman as the current president and casting director. Fox News attempted to get comment from Hoffman but was unsuccessful. He has not addressed Feldman’s claims.
As for Weiss, he was arrested for sexual assault after another actor accused him of abusing him 30 to 40 times over three years, starting when the actor was only 11. Weiss was sentenced to a year in jail and five years’ probation. He also has not commented on Feldman’s allegations.
‘This disgusting feeling’
Following Crews’s statement on Twitter, other Hollywood men came forward to tell their stories of being assaulted. James Van Der Beek shared his story on Twitter, where he commended the women who were coming forward to share their stories before telling his own story. He tweeted, “I’ve had my a** grabbed by older, powerful men, I’ve had them corner me in inappropriate sexual conversations when I was much younger. … I understand the shame, powerlessness & inability to blow the whistle. There’s a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome.”
I’ve had my ass grabbed by older, powerful men, I’ve had them corner me in inappropriate sexual conversations when I was much younger…
— James Van Der Beek (@vanderjames) October 12, 2017
Rob Schneider told TMZ that he was harassed early on in his career by a famous director when they were in a hotel room together. “He comes out in a bathrobe and sits in this chair. The next thing I know, he’s asking me to crawl on the ground and to crawl to him. Then it was just this disgusting feeling,” he said. The director in question, whom Schneider didn’t name, has since died.
Previously, Todd Bridges talked about being assaulted by his publicist when he was just 11 years old. In the documentary movie An Open Secret, detailing reports of rampant pedophilia in Hollywood, Bridges said he asked to be written out of an episode of Diff’rent Strokes that dealt with the issue “because I had myself gone through that, and watching it happen on the show it was like reliving that all over again.”
‘People need to be held accountable’
Crews has filed a police report against Venit. “People need to be held accountable,” he said. “This is the deal with Hollywood: This was an abuse of power. This guy … again, he’s one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. And he looked at me at the end as if, ‘Who’s going to believe you?’”
Crews also shared on Good Morning America that, after what he experienced with Venit, he understood why he had initially let it go — and why women had to let go of their assault experiences too before finding the courage to speak up. Citing how the Weinstein accusations had encouraged him to come forward, Crews said there’s something people don’t understand about what it means to be a victim of sexual assault.
“When a person of power breaks that boundary, violates that boundary, you’re a prisoner of war,” Crews explained. “Immediately, you’re in a camp. You’re trying to figure out when is the right time to come out: when a guard turns her head, when they leave a door open … you’re digging tunnels with spoons, you’re trying to find a way out, and you get out. And you finally find freedom. And someone says, ‘Well, it must not be that bad. You should’ve came out sooner.’
“This is the thing a lot of people just don’t understand, and they end up blaming the victim,” Crews continued, adding, “I have totally said, I will not be shamed. I will not be shamed. I did nothing wrong. Nothing.”
And while Crews says he was empowered by others sharing their stories, and he shared his to help others become free, he has an important question for those people covering stories of sexual assault. “Why don’t you ask what he’s doing?” Crews said. “Why isn’t Adam Venit sitting here right now, explaining his side?”
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- The many women who have accused producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault
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