Terry Crews Interview: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and His #MeToo Advocacy

Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews
Terry Crews as Terry Jeffords in ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (Photo by: Jordin Althaus / Fox / Universal Television)

If Brooklyn Nine-Nine had been canceled, Terry Crews probably would not have been hurting for work. The man shows up in more movies and appearances than anyone else in Hollywood. But when Fox canceled Brooklyn Nine-Nine, NBC decided to air another season. The show was already an NBCUniversal production.

The cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine had a panel on the last day of TCA to talk about their new home, and Crews stayed after to speak more about his advocacy work, testifying before Congress about sexual harassment. Brooklyn Nine-Nine will return on NBC in 2019.

Terry Crews Brooklyn Nine-Nine Interview:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has gone on any longer than any show you’ve worked on. What are the key elements that make this last as long as it has?

Terry Crews: “You know, first of all we love each other and it’s a safe place to work. Let me tell you, when you have a safe place to work you can do anything. The comedy gets better, the connections get better. Let me tell you, this is my family. I spend more time with the people on this show than I do with my own family during the season and you feel safe. And man, when that happens, magic happens.

I think what was so amazing and wonderful was to see the internet go flipping once we were canceled and they were demanding, ‘What is going on?’ I think there’s no greater example of the difference between Nielsen ratings and what people are actually watching than Brooklyn Nine-Nine. You saw it for what it was. We always were owned by NBC/Universal and now it just feels like hand and glove. We’re right where we need to be. It’s perfect.”

Where were you when you heard the news?

Terry Crews: “What was wild, when I heard we had the pickup, I was in New York. And it was funny, because Andre [Braugher] and I were doing Pyramid together. It was so weird. But that’s when we heard we got canceled. And then, when we got picked up, I was asleep. And we were going through the whole, like, are we going to get what network, if any, and the whole thing. And, I was all depressed. And so I wasn’t on California time. So, it was really, really late at night. I had to pee and I got up. I go back to the bed and my phone is glowing. You know, it’s like this eerie glow, and you’re like, ‘Oh, man. Not more bad news.’ And I pick up the phone and I’m like, ‘Holy sh*t. My God.’

And we have a WhatsApp group and the pickup was just all over it. It had been going for, like, two hours. And I was just, like, ‘Oh, my God.’ And I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to really describe. It felt like you’re alive again. Like, it’s almost like you were on life support and you wake up and you’re actually totally fine. In fact, you’re better than you were. It was truly amazing.”

Why is it so important to you to use your platform to inspire others and how have you seen it personally help and affect others?

Terry Crews: “You know, when I was a kid, I had a lot of questions and everyone told me stop asking them. What I would discover, one thing I realized is when I became an adult, I wanted to tell people what I was going through. There was always the society stigma of not sharing what you’ve been through, not telling the actual things that happen to you. What happens is if you don’t tell, bad things continue to keep happening.

Like I said, when Ronan Farrow wrote that first story about Harvey Weinstein, all those women came forward. Let me tell you, I just was invigorated, I knew it was safe to come out. It was safe now. And then I had to support them. I had to show that, wait a minute, because what was happening is the women were being debased. They were being called liars and I was like, ‘Wait, it happened to me,’ and the reason I was quiet is the same reasons why they were quiet in the beginning, you know?

My thing is, this is what’s so wild, is that we’re not even doubting whether these events happened. They’re doubting why did people come forward? That makes no sense to me. And it’s like I don’t care if it happened 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 40 years ago. It happened and that’s the issue. There’s a lot of people that are hoping that because time passed, things are over now. It’s like well, guess what, America is still dealing with slavery. It happened. We can’t say it didn’t happen.

I think as a man, and I’ve been a card-carrying member of the toxic masculinity group, men have to learn how to concede. We have to say that we messed up. It’s important. The first thing that helped me change in every way was I realized that I made the mistakes. The first thing that I had to say, when I acknowledged my own things and then went to make amends to the people I had even wronged, then things can correct itself. Then all of a sudden we can go to the next level but if you always deny, always push away, always run away, always hide, now things get worse and I refuse to live my life that way. I decided that hey, man, I’ve been very, very vocal about my own issues.

I had an addiction to pornography I came out about and I wrote a book called Manhood that really dealt with a lot of things that I had already been through with my wife and family and a lot of this toxic masculinity that I had ingrained into my life, and it came out in 2014. It came out in 2014 and believe me, when it came out, the publishers were a little bit like, ‘What are we going to do with this book?’ Now it’s been validated in a lot of ways and I’m thankful that I was able to do that and I will continue to. I will always, always know that this whole thing is bigger than me.”

Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews
Terry Crews, Stephanie Beatriz and Andy Samberg (Photo by: John P. Fleenor / Fox / Universal Television)

You came from a background that didn’t set you up for success. So how did you break through the barriers and become who you are today?

Terry Crews: “Wow, well I give so much credit to my wife. We’ve been married 29 years and the whole thing is that we’ve been through everything. It takes two. By myself I would have done okay, I would’ve done all right. But with her and I together, we could go all the way. We could go forever. When I talk about my success, that woman is really the reason why I’m here today. I can tell you right now she saved my life several times.”

Are you annoyed that Camacho is no longer the dumbest president?

Terry Crews: (Laughing) “First of all, I love President Camacho. He was a nice guy. He even acknowledged he wasn’t that smart. But when I look at what Idiocracy means to a lot of people, it’s funny because that movie was a bomb. All of a sudden it turns around and people are talking about the effect it’s had.

All I say, I’m not into calling people dumb, or whatever, but I do wish that people in Hollywood, politically, sports wise, would just be nice to each other. There’s just no reason to be hostile. There’s no reason to be mean. I think that because of troll culture that’s happened now, that people feel like they can wrest the attention of everyone from a few mean tweets. It all backfires, whether you’re the President of the United States, or the director of a big major movie, or you’re a kid in high school who gets his mind out and says some things, but now you just have to acknowledge it. You have to really, really acknowledge there are no idle words. There are none.”

Can you still be in X-Force since Deadpool reset the timeline?

Terry Crews: “You know what? Actually, if you look at the movie, I was on life support. They were trying to revive me so you didn’t see me get cut up or head cut off. There’s always something. I would love to come back for Deadpool 3.”

Was it always the plan for you to be in the posters and trailers but really you would always have a cameo?

Terry Crews: “It was a troll from the beginning and it was horrible. I felt so bad but it was for a good cause, you know what I mean? It really was the payoff that the movie needed.”

Do you get to be in Expendables 4?

Terry Crews: I’m not going to do Expendables 4 simply because of the thing that happened with the producer. He basically threatened me because of my whole William Morris/Endeavor lawsuit and I decided that I was going to pull out of Expendables 4 for that reason.”