Terry Crews testifies to Senate: Expendables 4 producer threatened 'trouble' over lawsuit
Terry Crews testified before the Senate on Tuesday in support of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. While discussing his own experience with sexual misconduct, the actor confirmed he won’t be in Expendables 4 because one of the film’s producers threatened him with “trouble” if Crews didn’t drop his lawsuit against William Morris Endeavor agent Adam Venit.
“I’ve done three movies called the Expendables with Sylvester Stallone,” Crews said when asked if there had been any retaliation for him speaking out about sexual assault. “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.”
The 49-year-old actor had tweeted that same claim in February of this year and named the producer as Avi Lerner. Crews confirmed on Tuesday that he will not be appearing in the sequel.
“No… Simply because this same producer is going under his own sexual assault investigation,” Crews said, “and 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 that I had to turn down.”
Lerner had been sued by a former employee, identified with the pseudonym Jane Roe, for sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and gender discrimination, as reported by Deadline. Lerner responded to the complaint by saying, “It’s all lies. It’s all a joke.”
A rep for Lionsgate, which distributes the Expendables franchise, did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
Crews came forward in October with allegations against Venit, claiming the Hollywood agent groped him at an industry function in 2016. Venit had received a one-month unpaid suspension from the agency but has since returned to work, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Crews filed a police report on Venit in November and filed a lawsuit in December. However, the suit was rejected, as PEOPLE reported, “because the matter was beyond the statute of limitations for misdemeanors.”
When asked during the Senate testimony why he didn’t fight back, Crews said, “As a black man in America, you only have a few shots at success. You only have a few chances to make yourself a viable member of the community. I’m from Flint, Michigan. I have seen many, many young black men who are provoked into violence and they were imprisoned or they were killed, and they are not here. My wife for years prepared me. She said, ‘If you ever get goaded, if you ever get prodded, if you ever have anyone try to push you into any kind of situation, don’t do it, don’t be violent.’ And she trained me, I’ll be honest with you. It was the strength of my wife, who trained me.”
The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, created by Amanda Nguyen, seeks to add new rights to victims of sexual assault into federal law.
“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,'” Crews said. “Because what happens is, you get blacklisted, your career is in danger. After that, no one wants to work with you.”