Having testified in front of Congress about new legislation for sex crime victims and continuing to press his lawsuit against WME over alleged sexual assault by agent Adam Venit, Terry Crews recently called the past few months a “summer of freedom.”
Well, summer is almost over and now the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor himself has been hit with a more than $1 million lawsuit by a former social media consultant and pal. Among other claims, the often confusing action alleges breach of contract, cyberbullying, harassment and an implied and disputed discrimination move against a member of the LGBTQ community in a business dust-up over an app.
“This Complaint is brought by Plaintiff Darwin Hall seeking payment for services rendered and costs incurred by Plaintiff in connection with his services to Defendants, and for Defendants’ tortious acts in response,” says the jury-seeking multi-claim filing made in L.A. Superior Court yesterday by the owner of Milwaukee, WI-based Symbolic Web Media, LLC. “As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ breach of the agreements, Plaintiffs have suffered damages in an amount to be proven at trial, and exceeding $1,000,000,” the complaint adds, with claims of emotional distress plus “several harrowing weeks of despicable online harassment and cyberstalking” launched off posts by Crews in late 2017.
Crews and his reps did not respond to request for comment from Deadline on the lawsuit. While Crews and the company did work together five years ago on the amusing PecPop Player app, a look around the web today found only a static landing page for Symbolic Web Media.
Things are far from static in the 17-page plus extensive exhibits filing (read it here), where Hall details a digital “professional relationship” with his “long time friend” and then just-retired NFL player Crews that started in 1999 to “enhance” the latter’s online presence. The paperwork also mentions helping Crews “obtain additional followers for his social media accounts,” a statement that is a bit odd as social media didn’t exist in the sunset of the 20th century.
Nonetheless, that misstep aside, the filing adds that the duo apparently agreed on a price of $55 per hour for the online duties and Hall went to work putting together websites for Crews. Those efforts included working on Crews’ Facebook page and more up until 2017 it seems. Efforts that Hall and his lawyers at Beverly Hills’ studio accounting specializing Johnson & Johnson LLP assert aided Crews to transition from sports to be able to “unquestionably” make it in the TV and film business – which is when the payments were supposed to kick in.
Yet, despite supposedly putting in over 6,000 hours working for Crews, Hall says he was only paid $28,479.06 by the Deadpool 2 actor over the decades – which makes it sound like he needs an accountant as well as attorneys. Then, with the August 14 filing suddenly taking a very ugly turn to claim Crews essentially freaked out in mid-2013 over Hall working for an LGBT-identifying client on what the plaintiff calls a “dating app that the client had created for professional women,” things went toxic between Symbolic Web Media and Crews’ loan-out company of Crews Arts Ltd – which is in theory how things ended up in the court system.
“Further, in response, to the demand for payment, Defendants engaged in a horrific campaign of harassment and cyberbullying that has caused Plaintiff to fear for his life and suffer substantial emotional distress, all because he dared to ask Defendants to honor their end of the bargain,” the complaint filed Tuesday states of Crews not coming through on a supposed pledge to “reimburse” Hall and his company’s client for the fees they had already paid out before the actor forced Symbolic Web Media to dump the client.
And, as today’s suit asserts in its own way, there is no mistaking that Crews did address the situation late last year on his very active social media. In a series of tweets claiming being strong armed for $1 million to a deal of $300,000 to end domain squatting and more, Crews never named Hall or his company. However, as the tweet below says and with no mention of anything to do with the LGBTQ community, Crews made it very clear that for him this blast radius wasn’t about a dating app but porn, an issue the actor has addressed his battle with an addiction to in the past and that’s why Hall was cut loose:
When I found out he was building porn sites, I told him I couldn’t work with him anymore, I saw how it all would backfire on me. He agreed to no longer build them…
Then promptly asked ME to pay him to replace all the money the porn sites would have given him.
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) December 25, 2017
With all that, what also makes this all seems a little shaky is that in footnotes to the complaint, Hall and his Johnson & Johnson lawyers say that “Plaintiff notes that the statement regarding settlement is not false or defamatory, and does not allege any !liability based on that portion of the statement.” They then add, “the bolded parts are false and defamatory as Plaintiff was never ‘squatting’ or otherwise in possession of Defendants’ domain names.”
On such occasions, it is important to remember that anyone can say almost anything about someone in a lawsuit – whether it is true or not is something to sometimes sadly be determined later.