Summary: Terry Crews is suing WME and its agent Adam Venit.
On Monday, Terry Crews filed a lawsuit against Adam Venit, the powerful Hollywood agent that Crews claimed had groped him in public. Venit represents clients such as Adam Sandler and Dustin Hoffman, and he was temporarily suspended by his agency WME but was swiftly reinstated.
Crews accused Venit of groping him last year at a party, in front of Crews’ wife. Crews said that he was so stunned by the action that he didn’t react, and he chose not to fight back because he imagined that he would be arrested and deemed violent.
Crews filed a lawsuit against Venit and Venit’s employer, William Morris Endeavor, one of the top talent agencies in entertainment. Crews is seeking a trial as well as damages for assault, sexual battery, emotional distress and negligence, among other claims, according to ABC News.
In his lawsuit, Crews said that he reported Venit’s actions to WME, where Crews was then a client. He said that the agency took no action, most likely because Venit, then head of the motion picture department, was such a “moneymaker.”
Since Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace, many in Hollywood have come forward to confront men in power who sexually abuse others. Crews shared his story publicly and has since fired WME as his talent agency.
“It is now time to hold Venit accountable for his sexual predatory behavior and to hold WME accountable for its conduct in condoning, ratifying, and encouraging Venit’s sexual predatory behavior,” Crews’ lawsuit reads. “Indeed, a message needs to be sent to those in power who abuse those over whom they exert influence and control that abusive and sexual predatory behavior will not be tolerated.”
Crews has also filed a police report on November 8. He spoke on Good Morning America about what had happened, and how Venit had stuck his tongue out at him before grabbing his genitals. Crews said that the incident made him feel “emasculated.”
“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?'”
Venit and WME declined to comment to ABC, but WME released a statement that Venit was suspended following Crews’ Twitter accusation. Venit has since been demoted as head of his department, but he is still employed at his agency and representing top clients.
Crews has been open about his frustration with the process. Upon hearing of Venit’s reinstatement, he wrote “Someone got a pass” online, and he also shared an email from his former friend Russell Simmons, who told Crews to drop the matter. Shortly after, Simmons was accused of raping screenwriter Jenny Lumet, and he stepped down as CEO of his company.
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