Terry Crews Throws Gabrielle Union From Back Of The Bus Into Oncoming Path Of Another Bus
Gabrielle Union is the badass sister who was unceremoniously fired from "America's Got Talent."
Variety reported in November on the NBC production's "toxic culture," as well as the racist treatment Union personally received. For instance, she was reportedly told that her changing hairstyles were
"too black" for the reality TV show audience. White folks coped just fine with Whitney Houston's rotating wigs almost 40 years ago but in the Trump era, we have to tread lightly.
Terry Crews is still a host on "America's Got Talent." I will never judge how a brother pays his bills unless he's on the Supreme Court chipping away at my rights. But Crews was a guest on hour eleven of the "Today" show Friday and when asked about the "Gabrielle Union controversy," he went full Mariah Carey on my girl.
CREWS: First of all, I can't speak for sexism because I'm not a woman.
What is he talking about? Of course, he can "speak for sexism." He's a man and we're the ones who bring the sexist. Without men, it's just Paradise Island and Amazons on horseback. Sexism isn't some horror movie monster that preys on women but is invisible to men. We just wonder what happened to that lady in sales: "We were both up for the same promotion. Then she vanished. That's peculiar."
That's such a cop-out statement. Men are very much aware of a sexist environment. Maybe we're not Donald Trump on the "Access Hollywood" bus, but sometimes we're Billy Bush and we need to own up to it. Are we supposed to believe that Crews never noticed that series producer Simon Cowell reportedly wouldn't stop smoking indoors, in defiance of California law and the most basic respect for other people's health? Union is allergic to cigarette smoke, like most humans with lungs, but was told that "no one could stop Cowell from smoking and that previous attempts by a fire marshal and NBC executives had been unsuccessful." Cowell created a literal, non-metaphorical "toxic atmosphere," but he's the one who labeled Union "difficult," presumably because she kept wanting to breathe.
CREWS: But I can speak on behalf of any racism comments. That was never my experience. In fact, it was the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment.
He just claimed he couldn't talk about sexism on "America's Got Talent," but he thinks he can make declarative statements about racism when misogynoir is a very different series of unfortunate events that black women experience. For instance, black men don't often have our hair policed, except when we're young men wanting to walk at graduation with dreads. Crews probably never received notes about his Detroit Lex Luthor look. "Difficult" is also a specific coded term for black women.
CREWS: When you look at what the allegations were about, it was given by an unnamed source. My thing is — it's funny because I believe you should listen to women, you should always believe women, so I asked my wife what I should do.
OK, he's a little confused. We're supposed to listen to the women who actually made the allegations not the woman lying next to us in bed, watching Sanditon on her iPad.
CREWS: [My wife] was like, first of all, if it's coming from an unnamed source, because Gabrielle Union has not made any statement to this day about any of these allegations publicly … if she hasn't made a statement, why would you?
There are any number of legal reasons why Union hasn't publicly confirmed her experiences. She alluded to them on Twitter before throwing heaps on shade on Crews.
Crews didn't have to support Union, but he also didn't have to paint the production as some post-racial Camelot. That only helps promote the insidious narrative that there are "good" black folks and "difficult" black people. Firmly cementing himself in the former camp might keep his bank account healthy but it's not so good for his soul.
I leave you now with a fitting scene from one of the best films of the past 20 years. Bring it!
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).