The world renowned action and comedy star Terry Crews has filed a lawsuit against WME and one of their agents who he alleges sexually assaulted him during a 2016 Hollywood party.
Terry Crews claims that Adam Venit, a WME talent agent, grabbed his genitals several times at a Hollywood party. Crews submitted the lawsuit after feeling that Venit wasn’t held appropriately accountable for his actions at the party.
This lawsuit follows the saga of sexual assault claims made by many people in the entertainment industry who claim to finally feel comfortable with reporting what happened to them. This movement followed the sexual scandals surrounding Harvey Weinstein earlier this year.
The lawsuit claims that upon first meeting Terry Crews at the party, Venit “viciously” groped Crew’s genitals so much that it caused Crews immediate and profound pain. Crews’ attorney claims that this was a blatant, violent and unprovoked sexual assault.
The lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Crews claims that he told his agent at the time Brad Slater about the assault the very next day and that WME took no action. Crews says that the organisational culture of WME encourages its agents to act aggressively as part of maintaining a reputation as a powerhouse in the film industry. Crews also said WME had a secret policy of not punishing its employees for misconduct such as this.
Crews states that he believes a blind eye was turned to Venit’s behaviour because of his reputation in representing several A-list celebrities.
Crews and his attorney claim the assault occurred at an Adam Sandler party hosted at a restaurant in West Hollywood last year. Crews says he was initially keen to meet Venit as he hoped it would further his career.
The lawsuit says that Crews could feel something was wrong when Venit stared at him “like a rabid dog”. Instead of shaking Crews’ hand, Venit grabbed his genitals. Crews shoved Venit away but he continued with the behaviour anyway.
Crews asked for help from Sandler who was hosting the party but was ignored. Sandler later called Crews to check on him and apologise for his inaction.
Crews claims that his agent assured him WME was taking disciplinary action against Venit for his behaviour but never received word of it. Crews deliberately avoided WME meetings and functions for fear of seeing Venit, a move that he says likely damaged his career.
After more media exposure on the issue, WME gave Venit a one month paid suspension and demoted him from his position as head of the film department. Crews saw this move as a weak punishment and said that he was pressured to stop talking about the incident.
The lawsuit ended by stating that if a large, muscular man like Terry Crews with a long history of acting success could be sexually assaulted, then anyone could.