Crews, 49, first shared his own story of alleged assault days after the first Harvey Weinstein reports broke in early October. In a flurry of tweets, Crews said that he too was a victim. Since then, he’s named his alleged assaulter, talent agent Adam Venit, and has filed a lawsuit against him.
The “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star spoke to Time about why he initially opened up about something so personal and what others can do to support the alleged victims now stepping into the light.
“I’d actually just read a comment someone made on Twitter about one of Weinstein’s accusers. It went something like: She’s just looking for attention and a pay day. It really affected me,” Crews told the magazine. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I remember going to my phone and I started writing. And I couldn’t stop.”
The former football star turned actor said he felt anger that any women was being discounted after telling their story.
“I wanted to join in. I wanted to say something. I wanted to support. But I did have to let these women know they weren’t alone. And that I understood. My whole mission was to give them strength,” he said.
On Oct. 10, Crews tweeted, “My wife n I were at a Hollywood function last year n a high level Hollywood executive came over 2 me and groped my privates.” Crews asid he now believes that men need to join in the fight against sexual harassment in order to really change the culture.
“If I was silent, it would mean I’m consenting to all of it. I always have felt women have been able to take care of themselves, 100 percent. But men need to hold other men accountable,” he added. “You need to be held accountable for the things you say, the things you do.”
Even Crews himself says he’s been guilty in the past of thinking he was “more valuable than my wife and kids.”
“Until I had a major paradigm shift in my own life — it was like I hit rock bottom in order for me to see that I had it all wrong,” he said. “I said, ‘No more.’ Why are you questioning the victim here? Let’s flip it.”
He also responded to critics calling the current climate, especially in Hollywood, a “witch hunt.”
“First of all, the thread of that is going to keep people right. We need to know you can’t do it. If it’s not a witch, it’s a witch hunt. If there are actual witches there, we need to stop them. I have people coming to me saying, ‘Hey, man. You could ruin this guy’s life.’ Very clever. That’s a very clever thing to say. But he ruined it when he did it,” he said. “This gives my life meaning. Now I know why I was put here.”
Crews’ interview comes one day after he filed the lawsuit against Venit and Venit’s employer William Morris Endeavor, alleging assault, sexual battery, emotional distress and negligence for what he says allegedly took place at a party in early 2016.
A request for comment from both Venit and WME about the suit was not immediately returned to ABC News.
Crews said that he’d never met Venit before that party, but even so, the agent stuck his tongue out at him and then squeezed the actor’s genitals.
“I have never felt more emasculated, more objectified. I was horrified,” Crews said. “It’s so bizarre. I wake up every morning wondering, ‘Did this really happen?’ … People need to be held accountable.”
Last month, William Morris Endeavor stated, “Adam Venit was suspended following the internal investigation into the matter.” Crews also fired WME as his agency around the same time.