Celeb: Best known for his roles in cult favorites “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Everybody Hates Chris,” the always-affable Terry Crews, who recently revealed his own #MeToo story of sexual assault.
Cause: The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, which establishes consistent federal procedures for prosecuting sexual assault crimes. Spearheaded by activist Amanda Nguyen, a rape survivor who was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the Survivors’ Bill of Rights was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2016, and Congress is figuring out how to implement it.
Scene: It’s not every day that a powerful politician offers to help an actor navigate the treacherous waters of Hollywood. But that’s exactly what Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) did when “Expendables” star Crews revealed that he’d been booted from the movie’s fourth installment. Crews said one of the film’s producers pressured him to drop his sexual abuse case against Hollywood agent Adam Venit. Crews wouldn’t do it, so filming went on without him. Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the former NFL player turned actor that he’d help in any way he could.
That was the general theme of Tuesday’s packed hearing: help. As other big names in the Senate — Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) — queried Crews, 49, and Nguyen, 26, on how Congress (and the culture) could better help survivors of sexual assault, the duo homed in on their expertise. Crews talked about toxic masculinity and holding abusers accountable. Nguyen discussed the need for crisis counselor training, the importance of health insurance and rights for refugees.
Sound bite: After the hearing, Crews and Nguyen said they had been a bit nervous, but that energy quickly morphed into excitement. Change, they said, was clearly on the way.
“Success is the warmest place to hide,” Crews said. “If I was that kind of guy who kept everything quiet, I don’t think I would make it. It would eat me up inside. So what I decided to do, instead of going to group, I would make the world my group.”
“I totally get that,” Nguyen said.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated former senator Barbara Boxer was part of the hearing. It was Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). It also stated that Sen. Amy Klobuchar is from New York instead of Minnesota.