Actor Terry Crews has publicly called out the Hollywood executive he says sexually assaulted him at a party while courageously recalling the harrowing experience on “Good Morning America” in hopes it will encourage other victims to come forward.
“I was assaulted by Adam Venit,” Crews said on Wednesday’s program, who he noted at the time was “the head of the motion picture department at Williams Morris Endeavor, one of the biggest [talent] agencies in the world, period.”
In his Wednesday comments, he said he was with his wife at a party in February of last year when he saw Venit, whom he said he had never met before, making crude gestures at him with his tongue.
“I’m looking and I’m like, is this a joke?” Crews said. “And he comes over to me, I stick my hand out and he literally takes his hand and puts it and squeezes my genitals. And I jump back like, ‘Hey, hey,’ and he’s still sticking his tongue out and I’m like, ‘Dude what are you doing? What are you doing?’ And then he comes back again!”
Crews said he pushed Venit away, causing the agent to bump into some partygoers. He said it took great restraint not to hit him any harder, especially after the way Venit responded.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 15, 2017
“He starts giggling and laughing. I’ll tell you, I’ve never felt more emasculated, more objectified; I was horrified,” Crews said. “When I looked at him, it was rage. And when I say rage, I felt like I could punch a hole in his head.”
He said he told comedian Adam Sandler, who was also at the party, what happened and he reacted with equal shock. Crews and his wife, who he said witnessed the incident, left the party shortly thereafter. In the car, he found himself gripping the steering wheel of his car in fury.
The former NFL player credited his wife with helping him not resort to violence in responding to the incident.
“She just kept saying, ‘I’m proud of you, I’m proud of you, I’m proud of you,’” he recalled of his wife’s encouragement, getting a bit emotional.
“If I would have just retaliated, in defense, I would be in jail right now and that’s one thing I knew, being a large black African American man in America, I would have immediately be seen as a thug, but I’m not a thug,” he said.
Venit, who has been placed on leave at WME, has not publicly addressed Crews’ allegations. Neither he nor WME has responded to HuffPost requests for comment.
Crews said he didn’t come forward about the incident until recently because he didn’t think anyone would believe him and he feared such allegations against a Hollywood powerbroker would harm his career.
His interpretation of Venit’s alleged expression ― “Like, who’s going to believe you?” ― reinforced that fear, he said.
He said he was spurred to first publicize the incident on Twitter by the rising sexual assault allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Hearing the stories from other victims caused his buried memory to bubble up, and inflict a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder, he said.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.