Terry Crews is a dangerous, deplorable type of Black man that is nothing but traumatic to Black women. I honestly didn’t see this coming a year ago.
The actor infamously spoke out about sexual assault when he revealed that he was groped by a “high level Hollywood executive.” The comment came right as the #MeToo movement was reaching mainstream recognition at the height of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations. Crews’ revelation brought a new wrinkle into the conversation, reminding us that men can be victims of these crimes, too. He also showed the trauma that accompanies coming forward about sexual assault.
But Crews’ accusation was immediately met with vitriol, hateful messages and ridicule.
How could someone so big let himself be groped by someone he could beat up?
He must be weak.
He must have liked it.
He must be lying.
He wants clout.
He wants attention.
The only thing louder than the mob that attacked Crews was the armada of Black women who came to his defense. Black women, especially those on social media, stood in front of the abuse Crews was experiencing, often themselves becoming the targets of threats and online abuse. One such woman who came to his defense was Gabrielle Union, who has been one of the most vocal advocates for sexual assault survivors and has put herself on the front lines to back up those who need her even at the risk of her own career.
So you can imagine the type of knife to the back that comes with Terry Crews doing an about-face and refusing to stand by Union when she needs support. The actress had been fired from “America’s Got Talent” over allegations that she is “difficult” to work with following her accounts pointing towards a culture of racism, sexism and power dynamics that further subjugated yet another Black woman in the workplace.
Crews has been sent out to be the face of the return of “America’s Got Talent” because a PR strategy as old as time for an entity getting called out for racism is to showcase a Black face to as many cameras as possible. That plan, of course, only works if there is a Black person willing to carry the company’s water. Crews has seemed more than happy to do so, repeatedly maintaining the idea that he never experienced the racism and sexism Union spoke of. Beyond the simple obligation that we have to stand by Black women, Crews also had the opportunity to return the energy given to him by the same women who stood in front of the internet firing squads on his behalf.
Crews not only failed to back up a Black woman, he’s since doubled down online with some — frankly — dumb ass tweets in defiance of the criticism he’s received.
As a result, Terry Crews has revealed himself as the type of Black man who uses up Black women labor, emotion and support for himself and himself alone. He exploited the way Black women stand up for us, absorbed the benefits of their mobilization and used it for the betterment of Terry Crews alone.
Terry Crews is the worst type of Black man.
Here’s what else Terry Crews has done: he has allowed the abusive, sexual assault-defending Black men who Black women fought so hard against before to come crawling back thanks to the confirmation bias he’s allowed them to benefit from. I’ve seen hundreds of men on social media say, “we always knew Terry Crews was phony,” when in actuality the current betrayal from Crews has nothing to do with the fact that he was sexually assaulted.
Crews has shown himself to be a shiny garbage pail of a human being, but that does not detract from the fact that someone did something horrible to him and he still needs to be supported as a sexual assault survivor. His story is no less important and any man using this to relitigate Crews’ story is only trying to once again boost up rape culture. It’s a circle of horrible actions being fed by horrible people. Crews among them.
All Crews had to do was simply support a Black woman. It’s the literal least he could do. Instead, he profited off of the trauma Black women experienced, gaslit them and perpetuated the abuse. That makes him more than just a trash Black man. He’s a manipulator and user. An opportunist and a betrayer. A sellout and a deceiver. He’s the worst.
David Dennis, Jr. is a writer and adjunct professor of Journalism at Morehouse College. David’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Smoking Section, Uproxx, Playboy, The Atlantic, Complex.com and wherever people argue about things on the internet.