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Terry Crews Bravely Shares the Hollywood Sexual Assault He Endured in Solidarity With Weinstein Victims

While we primarily talk about sexual harassment and assault in terms of the women who face it, as it tends to affect them disproportionately, we’re also aware that men not only also suffer harassment and assault, but often don’t come forward because of the stigma attached. For Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Terry Crews, the aftermath of Harvey Weinstein’s firing was exactly the right time to share the story of his own sexual assault in solidarity with Weinstein’s victims.

Crews took to Twitter yesterday to tell the story of how he was groped by a male Hollywood executive at a party last year. In addition to the incident being a disgusting violation, it also highlights the ways in which race plays a role in who gets abused and what their recourse can be. Despite the fact that he could’ve easily taken this guy as a physically larger person, Crews was keenly aware of how the incident would be portrayed: “240 lbs. Black Man stomps out Hollywood Honcho.”

Here is Crews telling his story in his own words:

I hope that whoever did this to Crews is quaking in his boots right now. I hope that he’s a little less comfortable, as it’s more likely that his name might become more public in not too much longer. Whether it’s Crews who comes forth with his name, or any of this person’s other victims (and there’s always more than one), it’s coming.

I am also filled with so much admiration and respect for Crews in sharing his story. I already knew he is a staunch feminist ally, both in real life and as expressed through his brilliant, nuanced performance on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Now, he has taken that one step further, showing solidarity with the female victims of Harvey Weinstein’s abuses by sharing his own story, while also highlighting the fact that the toxic masculinity of Hollywood doesn’t only affect women. It affects other men as well.

An even more important point is that, as a black man, Crews has less power than white men do in speaking out against abuses like this. As his story illustrates, he had to think twice about how he was going to respond to the situation because of his race. Considering the long-running, harmful stereotypes about black men (re: things like “violence” or “sexual prowess”), his race was compounded by his gender, creating a damn-near-impossible situation.

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend of mine who also happens to be a man of color who works in Hollywood. Before Crews made his statement, this friend was talking to me about situations in which men of color endure abuses and discrimination at the hands of powerful women in the industry, which infuriates me. Because it isn’t bad enough that men do this to women and to each other? Women have to engage in this behavior, too? For what? To maintain their power by engaging in the same toxic behavior that men do? They want to be a part of the Boys’ Club so badly they act like them? But again, race is compounded by gender in these cases, and people like my friend lack agency and power in certain situations thanks to both.

Which makes Crews coming forward with his story all the more remarkable. The other day, I wrote a piece about how we have reached a moment where fear is no longer something to which any of us can defer. There are reasons for all of us who are oppressedbecause of our gender, or our race, or our sexuality, or our physical abilitiesto be afraid. That fear is valid. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t or shouldn’t take action to protect ourselves and each other.

People along any axis of oppression have a lot to lose in putting themselves on the line for themselves, or for others who are similarly oppressed. Then again, they have already lost so much in their silence.

Crews shows us that no matter what we’ve been through, no matter what discrimination or abuse we face, we can all start to let fear rule us a little less. We can be more willing to step forward and speak truth in the face of injustice. We can all do our part to make our work environments safer and free from abusive behavior.

Thank you, Terry Crews, for your honesty and bravery, and for being willing to relive what I’m sure was a horrifying and humiliating experience publicly in an effort to help others. You, like every one else who comes forward to shine a light on the truth, are an inspiration.

(via Vulture, image: Eddy Chen/FOX)

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