Actor and former football player Terry Crews filed a sexual assault and battery lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles against agent Adam Venit and Venit’s employer, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME).
Crews, star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, states in the lawsuit that he is seeking to hold Venit and WME accountable for the alleged Feb. 4, 2016, sexual assault by Venit on Crews. Crews said he had never met Venit before, when the agent “viciously grabbed [his] penis and testicles so hard that it caused [him] immediate pain in a blatant and unprovoked sexual assault.”
Crews said the groping occurred at an entertainment industry event where Venit was representing WME. (The lawsuit notes that Venit’s A-list clients have included Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Brett Ratner, and Dustin Hoffman.) Crews said he went over with his wife to introduce himself to Venit but that the agent only stared at him “intently, like a rabid dog, sticking his tongue in and out of his mouth provocatively.” Crews said that when he reached out to shake Venit’s hand, the agent instead grabbed Crews' genitals, squeezing them so hard that it caused him to leap back in pain. Crews said Venit then repeated this groping several times despite the fact that Crews pushed him away and told him to stop.
Crews said he ultimately yelled out to Sandler, who was nearby, saying “Adam, come get your boy! He’s grabbing my nuts!” Crews said Sandler shook his head at Venit with disbelief. Crews said he left the party shortly after and Sandler called him on his cell, asking if he was okay and for details of the incident. Crews said Venit called him the next day and apologized, saying he was not himself.
But besides that apology, and despite the fact that Crews reported the incident to his own agent at WME, Crews said he did not see the agency take any action against Venit.
“It is now time to hold Venit accountable for his sexual predatory behavior and to hold WME accountable for its conduct in condoning, ratifying and encouraging Venit’s sexual predatory behavior," Crews' lawsuit states. "A message needs to be sent to those in power who abuse those over whom they exert influence and control that abusive and sexual predatory behavior will not be tolerated."
Crews previously shared details of the groping on Twitter on Oct. 10 and filed a police report against Venit a month later. WME responded to Crews' allegations by conducting a two-week investigation into Venit and, on Oct. 24, the agency suspended Venit without pay for 30 days. He has since returned to work at WME, but was demoted from his role as head of the agency's motion picture department.
An earlier version of this post misstated the name of Venit's employer, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
Claudia Rosenbaum is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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