Terry Crews is far more than a rippling mass of muscles. He’s also a master of comedic delivery, as fans of White Chicks and Brooklyn Nine-Nine can attest. But perhaps most importantly, his honesty and grace when speaking about his experience of sexual assault have earned him the title of the strongest man in Hollywood.
At the recent 25th annual Essence Festival, in a panel discussion which also included his wife Rebecca King-Crews and Surviving R. Kelly author Asante McGee, Crews spoke about how he was inspired by the bravery of women like Ashley Judd, whose allegations against Harvey Weinstein precipitated a never-before-seen scrutiny into the sexual misconduct of men in the entertainment industry.
“When the women of the Me Too movement came forward, I viewed that like a hole in the fence,” he said. “I watched those women escape and I ran right after them. That is when I came public. With the inspiration and from the courage they showed, actually gave me the courage to come forward with my story.”
While it took the momentum of Me Too to convince Crews to go public, that isn’t to say he took no action beforehand. “I did come forward right away,” he said. “I went right to the agency where this man worked and told everybody… I gave them time to rectify the situation. I wanted them to get rid of this man. This was pre-Me Too, if I would have gone to the police, I would have been laughed out of the precinct. This was also a time when people believed that you as a man couldn’t be sexually assaulted. It was impossible to get anyone to believe.”
Crews was also quick to dispel the idea that anybody would accuse a public figure of sexual assault for reasons of personal gain: “One thing that people don’t understand about the Me Too movement is that people think that people come forward to get money, people come forward to get fame. The deal is you only get paid for silence… It’s so important to understand that when people are telling the truth, it’s a way of setting free a whole nation of people who have been suffering.”
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