In a different take on Terry Crews’ groping incident, WME agency says it did not ratify Adam Venit’s alleged assault on the actor like he claimed. After remaining silent on Crews’ sexual assault lawsuit for weeks, the company has lawyered up and issued an answer to his claim.
“The facts are these: The day after the alleged incident, Mr. Crews mentioned it to no one at WME other than his agent, who nevertheless immediately raised it with Mr. Venit,” the papers obtained by The Hollywood Reporter and filed Tuesday, Jan. 30 said. “That same day, Mr. Venit called Mr. Crews and apologized. Mr. Crews accepted the apology and then told the only two WME employees to whom he had spoken about the incident that everything was okay. That was the last mention Mr. Crews made of the incident to anyone at WME for nearly 18 months — during which time he remained a WME client. That is no surprise since, as Mr. Crews admitted in his later Tweets, he had ‘decided not to take it further’ and ‘let it go.’”
Crews, who initially disclosed the February 2016 incident in a series of tweets in October, said in his December lawsuit that he met with WME co-CEO and chairman Ari Emanuel after receiving a call from Venit. Both Emanuel and Venit apologized for the agent allegedly groping Crews’ genitals in front of his wife. The former footballer had also complained to his own agent for the incident, but Venit went unpunished until Crews went public with the episode.
The in-demand agent, whose clients include Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler, returned from unpaid suspension after a one-month absence but Crews didn’t think that was enough.
“Someone got a pass,” he tweeted in November.
He also said that he has been pressured to end discussion of the incident.
Crews’ is suing for sexual battery, sexual harassment, negligence, assault, battery, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty and negligent retention and supervision.
Yet WME lawyers further claim that Crews likening his accusations to those made by women in the #MeToo movement is unfair. It also says WME did act fast in getting to the bottom of Crews’ accusations.
“In contrast, the response of WME’s senior leadership, upon learning that Mr. Crews had not ‘let it go’ and had accused one of its agents of the conduct alleged here, was both swift and serious,” the documents state. “They quickly contacted Mr. Crews and expressed their concerns. They asked Mr. Crews to meet with them. He accepted. At those meetings, WME encouraged Mr. Crews to tell them everything that had happened, to be as open with the public as he wanted, and to propose whatever form of resolution he thought was justified. Shortly thereafter, WME suspended Mr. Venit — without pay — for one month and dramatically demoted him, by stripping him of his title and position as head of the Motion Picture Group.”
“For these reasons, and until the Court hears all of the evidence, it should not accept Mr. Crews’ allegations against WME,” it added.
Crews has yet to respond to the suit, but retweeted the THR report, acknowledging he’s aware of WME’s answer.