On Tuesday, Terry Crews sued one of Hollywood’s most powerful talent agents for sexual assault. Just two days later, he decided to step out at one of the flashiest parties of award season, where he knew he’d encounter plenty of people in the industry who both know and work with Crews’ former rep, Adam Venit.
“I’m at the party because I know I didn’t do anything wrong,” Crews said, standing by the Chateau Marmont pool at GQ’s Men of the Year bash. “I’m not gonna internalize any of the shame that they’re trying to put on me.”
The lawsuit filed earlier this week claims that the William Morris Endeavor agent came up to the actor at a February 2016 party and “viciously grabbed Crews’ penis and testicles so hard that it caused Crews immediate pain.”
The 49-year-old first went public with the allegation against Venit on his Twitter account in October, filing a police report with the LAPD the following month. WME launched a two-week investigation and made the decision to place Venit on a 30-day unpaid suspension; however, the agent returned to work on Nov. 27. When he came back to the agency, he was demoted from head of the motion picture department and is now an agent.
At the party on Thursday, Crews said he had always been planning to sue Venit — but he would have left WME out of the lawsuit if it had backed up the actor’s claims.
“I told [WME chairman] Ari Emanuel, ‘Dude, I’m going after Adam Venit. You want to back him up? Then you gonna get it,’” Crews recalled. “Let me tell you, he touched the wrong guy. That’s what I said to Ari. ‘Dude, you never thought in a million years that I would say anything. And I’m gonna tell you right now — that’s the worst mistake you ever made.’”
WME declined to comment Friday.
Crews spoke frankly about the alleged sexual assault while being interrupted every few minutes by servers offering up miniature hamburgers and fried fish. Sporting a pink tuxedo jacket, he was one of dozens of well-dressed men who showed up to the magazine’s party.
Among the attendees were Armie Hammer, who spent much of the night smoking a cigarette and chatting with his “Call Me by Your Name” costar Timothée Chalamet; rapper Wiz Khalifa, wearing an unbuttoned shirt that exposed his stomach as he vaped; director Taika Waititi, desperately trying to make his way to the packed bar to order a vodka soda.
“Let me tell you, there’s a lot of men in here who’ve dealt with the same thing, but they never would admit it,” Crews said, surveying the crowd, which also included women who have recently taken stands against Hollywood harassment, including Gal Gadot and Emily Ratajkowski.
After he went public with his allegations, Crews said, he heard from a handful of other men who felt he had broken the “man code.” In filing the lawsuit, he was ready to let his career go, he said, even telling Emanuel he knew “you guys are going to retaliate for me even bringing this up."
“What we have to do is literally prove that these people are guilty, because shaming doesn’t work,” he continued. “This is the only way the town is going to be disciplined into right. My wife said: ‘He wants to touch your privates in public and take it back private. We gonna take it back public.’
“These guys want to do their dirt and then be quiet about it. You think it’s the end of the game, but I’m telling you right now — it’s the third quarter. Bring your ass back out on the field.”