NOTE: This article contains sexual language and may be triggering for some readers. Please read at your own discretion.
Terry Crews says a film producer said he could only return to the Expendables franchise if he dropped his sexual assault lawsuit against Hollywood agent Adam Venit. The actor said it was an example of how “abusers protect abusers.”
Crews made the allegation on Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights, which establishes rights for survivors of sexual assault.
He said Expendables producer Avi Lerner asked that the actor drop his case in order to appear in the fourth installment of the action film and warned of “troubles” if it wasn’t dropped. Crews has been in each of the previous films.
WATCH BELOW: The latest on Terry Crews
“I’d done three movies called the Expendables with Sylvester Stallone,” he said. “The producer of that film called my manager and asked him to drop my case in order for me to be in the fourth installment of the movie. And if I didn’t, there would be trouble.”
“Abusers protect abusers — and this is one thing I had to decide, whether I was going to draw the line. 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,” the White Chicks actor said.
In a tweet back in February, Crews named that Expendables producer as Avi Lerner.
Management got a call last week from Avi Lerner producer of EXPENDABLES 4 saying I could avoid any “problems” on the sequel if I dropped my case against @WME.
Guess who’s Sly’s agent?
— terry crews (@terrycrews) February 3, 2018
READ MORE: Terry Crews sex assault lawsuit: WME gives its side of the story
The senator expressed her hope that Crews would be in the film but the actor elaborated with more details.
“Uh no,” he said. “Simply because this same producer is under his own sexual assault investigation. And, you know, abusers protect abusers.”
Crews was referring to the fact that a few months after Lerner threatened and attempted to silence Crews, Lerner was sued for allegedly sexually harassing female employees.
During his statement, Crews went on to say of the industry: “What happened to me has happened to many, many other men in Hollywood.”
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor continued: “And since I came forward with my story, I have had thousands and thousands of men come to me and say, ‘Me too, this is my story. But I did not have the confidence, or I did not feel safe enough to come out.'”
“Because what happens is, you get blacklisted, your career is in danger – after that, no one wants to work with you,” Crews said.
In March, prosecutors decided not to file charges against Venit, the talent agent Crews accused of groping him at a Hollywood party.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said Venit, an agent at William Morris Endeavor (WME), twice grabbed Crews by the groin, but because there was no contact with his skin, and no restraint involved, the allegations were not a felony.
They sent the case to the Los Angeles city attorney, who prosecutes misdemeanors. The city attorney’s office said the statute of limitations for them to prosecute Venit had expired. The party was in February 2016. Crews did not report the incident until November 2017.
Crews reported the incident to the Los Angeles Police Department on Nov. 8, 2017, alleging that Venit had grabbed his crotch at an industry party in February 2016. Police investigated and forwarded the complaint to the L.A. County District Attorney’s office on Feb. 6 of this year.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office decided in March not to file charges against Venit, determining the allegations were not a felony. Crews has also filed a lawsuit against Venit.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
— With files from the Associated Press
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