Brooklyn 99 star Terry Crews gave hope to men hiding their experiences of being sexually harassed after he admitted to being sexually assaulted by an influential Hollywood agent, but over the week online trolls tried to get a reaction out of him on how men should react in the face of sexual misconduct.
According to a report by Good Morning America, one person started the debate when he appeared to question the actor’s masculinity earlier this week by tweeting, “Some men actually defend themselves,” tagging an article about actor Jason Priestley recalling punching Harvey Weinstein at a party.
Weinstein, who is accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, has admitted to ‘inappropriate behavior,’ but continues to maintain that he has had only consensual sexual interactions, and does not use his powerful position in Hollywood to retaliate against women who refused his advances.
Predictably, a horde of Twitter users came after the person behind the insinuating post, and Crews chimed in too, saying “White people in America can do a lot of things I’d be arrested for.”
This then started the Twitter fight on the actor’s social media page that started Monday night, lasting late into Wednesday.
Commenters were split on whether Crews should have physically defended himself against his assaulter, agent Adam Venit — whom he is now suing for sexual battery, emotional distress and negligence, among others.
Good Morning America’s story cited the reply of one person, who said: ““There is factual evidence that black people are given harsher sentences than white people for the same crimes committed. Public perception of black people is very negative, and if Terry had reacted with violence, it would’ve just reinforced the stereotypes about us.”
Some people thought Crews’ wealth was more important than race, with one Twitter user saying, “I think you’re a great guy and very talented … please don’t fall into the anti-white cesspool … you’re better then [sic] that!”
Crews however, acknowledged his privilege and the fact he has more money than most sexual assault victims.
No one should feel shamed for being privileged. I’M PRIVILEGED. But people confuse privilege with VALUE.
No one is more valuable than anyone else.
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) December 26, 2017
“No one should feel shamed for being privileged. I’M PRIVILEGED. But people confuse privilege with VALUE. No one is more valuable than anyone else.”
His fans continued to support Crews in the thread, telling him to not back down from trolls that will try to use his influence, experience, and race in the discussions.
Crews then spoke out about his ongoing lawsuit.
“My first attorney told me I should sue for charity because of the ‘perception.’ I let him know white men sue for money all the time. Then I fired him,” he wrote.
Why, when white men sue, they’re called shrewd and savvy businessmen—
But when women and POC do the same thing, they’re called opportunists?
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) December 28, 2017
Crews named his alleged accuser as Venit last month on “Good Morning America” and claimed the agent groped him last year at a party. He then filed a suit against Venit and his employer, William Morris Endeavor, earlier this month. Venit was suspended by WME earlier this year.