As part of his moving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Terry Crews revealed he has dropped out of The Expendables 4 following alleged threats from producer Avi Lerner. According to Crews, Lerner called him and told him that he would have to drop his sexual assault case against agent Adam Venit in order to appear in the film.
Crews, who says Venit once groped him at a party, spoke to the Judiciary Committee Tuesday as part of their hearing reviewing the implementation of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. When asked whether he had a role in the Expendables sequel, Crews said no. He went on: “Abusers protect abusers—and this is one thing I had to decide, whether I was going to draw the line on. 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 Brooklyn Nine-Nine star referred to allegations claiming Lerner created a hostile work environment through sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Lerner has dismissed these accusations as “a joke.”
Crews used his day in court to advocate for other survivors of assault, particularly men. He said many other men have shared their stories with him since he shared his own assault on Twitter late last year:
What happened to me has happened to many many other men in Hollywood, 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 was unable to seek legal retribution for Venit’s actions, as his alleged assault took place outside of the statute of limitations, but he has sued Venit and his company, William Morris Endeavors, for sexual assault. Venit has been demoted from head of the company’s motion picture department to an agent as a result.
The star used his testimony Tuesday to advocate for a culture devoid of toxic masculinity and sexual violence, citing his own tumultuous upbringing as a site of trauma. You can watch his full testimony here and see his opening statement below.