Terry Crews lambasts return of agent he says groped him, while Matt Lauer is fired from ‘Today’
What does it take to professionally oust powerful men who sexually misbehave in the workplace?
A few days ago, actor and author Terry Crews complained about talent agent Adam Venit’s return to Williams Morris Endeavor Entertainment. Crews said Venit grabbed Crews’ penis at an industry party in February 2016 – in front of Crews’ wife, no less. “Someone got a pass,” Crews tweeted Monday. In response to the groping claim, Venit was suspended for 30 days without pay and demoted.
National discourse about sexual harassment and sexual assault continued as the journalism world responded to NBC’s termination of Matt Lauer. In a complaint, the former Today show anchor was accused of workplace sexual impropriety. One could presume the evidence against Lauer is substantial and his victim (or victims) engenders a special kind of protectionism of which society does not believe Crews is due.
The combination of professional (read: monetary) and personal (read: large-scale shame) effects of sexual indecency can curb the tide of abuse. But consequences should include analysis of the victim’s identity and how it can be weaponized.
The same society that champions throwing the book at men who abuse women, particularly white women, is lulled into inaction when victims are of-color, especially Black, and male. Society often conceives of vulnerability through lenses requiring whiteness, femininity and/or slightness of build.
However, the same racism, sexual deviance and Black phallus fixation that inspired some white men to lynch and castrate Black men and boys in previous decades can double back around today as an entitlement to grab Black men by their genitals.