Terry Crews apologized to LGBTQ community after insensitive parenting comments

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I’m a big Terry Crews fan. I like his work and I respect his advocacy. So when he opened his mouth and shoved his foot in it this past weekend, I really wanted to ignore it. I get that nobody is perfect – and I shouldn’t ask them to be – but oh my stars, Terry was a train wreck.

The mess started with Terry responding to a NYT Op Ed that questioned Barack Obama’s comments directed at young black males during a recent a town hall. I didn’t get too upset with his comments, although I did think he needed to read the article more thoroughly. Terry has long advocated for positive male role models in boys’ lives. But then Terry followed up with this tweet that condemned the author for writing about young men when she was a woman. And it just got worse from there. People came for Terry at every angle. Instead of listening and thoughtfully responding, Terry got angry and fired back. A big chunk of the discussion was that Terry was dismissing sex-sex couples. Terry reiterated he didn’t mean an actual father but a father figure. His point aside, he handled it terribly. He got frustrated and sloppy and that led to this series of now-deleted tweets. It started with Terry tweeting:

I’ve reiterated many times that same sex couples and single parents can successfully raise a child. But I believe paternal AND maternal love are like vitamins and minerals to humanity. No matter where you get that paternal and maternal love. MY purpose is to give paternal love.

Twitter user @jakesherondale replied:

love is not gendered. A child will not starve with only one gender loving them.

And to that, a worked up Terry responded:

But they will be severely malnourished

This was terrible. I know Terry loves metaphors to prove his point but this was so ill-conceived and he was right to get dragged for it. He did apologize and explained why he used those words. If he’d stopped there, things might have calmed down. But he didn’t, the anger on both sides escalated and other insensitive things were said. Celebrities and fans came to his defense. I considered it because I thought I knew where his heart was, but he was doing such a terrible job addressing it. Fortunately, Terry’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star, Stephanie Beatriz, did not give up on him. Stephanie is a proud member of the LBGTQ community and apparently, took the time to educate Terry on how deep his comments cut:

It’s a decent apology. He still has some work to do, but this is a good start. Especially the part where he finally listened to someone and gained perspective from it. It’s especially poignant that it was Stephanie who sat him down because she made her directorial debut last week with the #MeToo episode the show promised after Terry made his sexual assault public. If you did not see the episode, it was very, very good. The #MeToo storyline is told through female characters and Terry isn’t even a part of it, he’s in another storyline altogether. This allowed the focus to be on the message, not the victim.

As I said before, this cast adores each other, and I am really glad that extends to calling them on their crap when necessary. That’s the mark of a true friend.

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Photo credit: Twitter and WENN Photos

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18 Responses to “Terry Crews apologized to LGBTQ community after insensitive parenting comments”

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  1. Ye says:

    Oh Terry… love you still but that was kinda mean.

  2. Lucy says:

    I love Terry and B99. Hopefully he has truly learned something out of this.

  3. grabbyhands says:

    I’ll give him this – when he apologizes, I feel like he’s one of the few people who actually means it.

    Having said that, he needs to stop having verbal diarrhea on Twitter about stuff like this. If he is confused about a topic that he clearly knows is going to be sensitive, why come out of the gate with a bunch of hurtful statements? Why not say, “Hey, let’s talk about this thing – tell me your experience”. He made a shitty, insensitive comment and then doubled down on it and then frankly, danced on the edge of making a non-apology. It was really disappointing, to say the least.

  4. LaraK says:

    I’ll give him a pass – it was a good apology and I think he truly does try to learn.
    I think we struggle as a society with issues opposite of what we face. Terry is not wrong – the lack of black male role models and absentee fathers are a major problem in the black community and many black men I know are very conscious of their roles. But he then failed to think about the lgbtq community’s struggle to make people understand that two people of the same gender can build a great family. And let’s not even go into the single parents’ struggles.
    It doesn’t make his argument less valid to make it about most kids, not all kids. But I do feel like he’s one of the people who learns from his mistakes so he’s still ok in my books after the apology,

    • Wow says:

      @lark this, instability in black families and communities is an enormous issue that we need to address now. Where he failed to convey his point was gendering it.

      There is an issue with how we deal with problems not being inclusive of other problems then we spend a lot of time validating others and their feelings when the original issue gets forgotten. At this point his very valid points about accountability for black men and creating a community based in home stability has been lost and remains without the proper attention because its become an LGBTQ issue about lack of inclusivity.

      I suppose being careful with ones words from the start can help ease this, but everyone needs to start remembering not everything is or can be for them and we need to allow different issues space without making it about other problems.

      It was a good apology, but it’s disappointing that supporting stability in black homes isn’t the headline.

      • Patty says:

        This exactly! He was talking about a very specific issue. It would be like me going to a conference about testicular cancer and getting upset that people weren’t talking about ovarian cancer and then hijacking the conversation to demand that my viewpoint was included. His comments were not a swipe at LGBTQA+ families because they weren’t the topic of the conversation to begin with.

      • alternative fact says:

        I agree with you. For what it’s worth, I am a lesbian and I think it’s important for children to have good male and female role models whenever possible (emphasis on whenever possible). As Terry said, it doesn’t matter where that comes from.

        Especially agree with your point:
        “Everyone needs to start remembering not everything is or can be for them and we need to allow different issues space without making it about other problems.”

        I feel like many people in my community forget this. Crews was talking about a specific issue in his community and LGBT people need to respect that it wasn’t about us. Crews is not known to be disrespectful so I feel it was inappropriate for people to just call him out without clarifying what he meant as his tweets were not phrased well.

  5. Sparkly says:

    I’m very disappointed in this. Mostly *because* he doubled (tripled?) down. I expected better from him.

    FTR, Terry, EVERY SINGLE male ‘father figure’ in my life abused me (as have many of the non-father-figure ‘friends’). I married the only male I have ever met who always uplifted and respected me and has never attacked me in any way.

  6. Jess says:

    I’ve really appreciated Terry’s willingness to be such a leader on the sexual assault issues. And I know how easy it is to get defensive when someone disagrees with you and double down on your original position instead of trying to learn and grow (I’m guilty of this all the time), so I appreciate the fact that he was finally willing to listen and start (cause it is just a start) making a change. Kudos to Stephanie for stepping up. And speaking of her, I didn’t realize she directed the MeToo episode. We just watched it as a family the other day (B99 is literally the only show everyone in the family likes) and I was tearing up by the end. It was so well done. I love Brooklyn 99 (for some pure joy, I highly recommend the recent Judy sibling episode – Craig Robinson and Andy Sandberg together are fantastic!).

  7. Susan says:

    Enough with the apology. Terry Crews rubs me the wrong way with his thirsty antics. That was a terrible thing to say.

  8. Lala11_7 says:

    Everything that initially came out of his mouth regarding this subject was DRENCHED in toxic masculinity…which he has been advocated against

    The fact that he apologized and hopefully evolving on this stance means that his struggle continues…

    Personally…I’m SO TIRED of it….

  9. Patty says:

    For starters his comments in the beginning had absolutely nothing to do with LGBTQA+ folks or their families. He was speaking about and responding to an article about My Brothers Keeper and the need for African American boys to have fathers in their lives or at the very least a black man who is willing to help them become the best men they can be. Because lack of positive male role models is a huge problem in the AA community in America.

    It’s unfortunate that a very valid point he was trying make got drowned out because a group of people his comments weren’t about took offense.

    • bears says:

      Agreed. He wasn’t thinking about a potentially offended lesbian couple when he spoke from his perspective of being a black father. I thought he was basically just saying that he wishes more black fathers would stick around because they are needed by their children. Still, this is a perfect example of why you should just keep your opinions to yourself and stick to only blatant self-promotion on Twitter.

    • Veronica S. says:

      I’m an LGBT+ woman, and I think more the issue here is two minority communities talking past each other on issues that affect them differently. The lack of gender dimorphic caretakers is weaponized against the black community as a way of demeaning their cultural and familial class experiences. On the other hand, it’s weaponized against LGBT+ families by defining them as “unnatural” entities that go against the proper social structure of a family.

      Both sides have a fair point, but they’re talking past each other instead of seeing where the common ground is: an oppressive system that purposefully devalues anything that doesn’t conform to its set standards (white, heterosexual, cis, nuclear, etc.). I don’t think Crews at all intended to be unkind here, but I appreciate him being the adult and thinking critically about the semantics involved in discussing the issue instead of flying off the handle and letting the narrative turn on him. I just wish his detractors would have exhibited the same thoughtful empathy on his position as a black man in America.

      • BlueSky says:

        @Veronica, thanks for your perspective. As a WOC I agree that there is an issue of marginalized classes talking past each other. I think Crews was speaking from a perspective that he knew which is being black man and not having enough black male role models but the conversation got hijacked and people were accusing him of being homophobic. I think he got frustrated because he felt he was being misunderstood. I do agree that we must do a better job of listening to each other. People could have calmly pointed out how his comments came across without this getting blown out of proportion.
        Given the current political climate where there is a push to strip away rights that affect LGBTQ community I understand that people are going to be hypersensitive about any comments that appear to to exclude or dismiss.

      • adastraperaspera says:

        Thanks for your thoughtful statement! As a lesbian stepmom, I feel like you’re right on here.

    • Wow says:

      The black community gets taken to task for not “helping ourselves” then the second we do we get nit picked and forced to apologize for talking about issues in our own community.

      I’m exhausted, the black community is extremely unique. If you do not live within it you may not understand our issues and his source material that started the conversation was very specific, no one cared to listen though.

      You can have inclusivity while still understanding every single conversation won’t include everyone. I don’t know what anyone wants from us anymore, because it sure isn’t to listen or help our community.

    • sa says:

      He may have intended to make a specific point, but what he tweeted was that it bothered him that an op-ed was written by a woman, because how would a woman know how to teach a boy to grow into a successful young man.

      He may not have *meant* that as an attack against single mothers or lesbian couples, but those are his words and we can’t pretend that they’re not harmful.

      I like Terry Crews and I admit to giving him more benefit of the doubt than I would others, but my take was that he was choosing his words very poorly and seemed to be inferring bad-faith from those that called him out – which may be understandable because he’s been attacked on twitter for harmless comments in the past. But in response to the criticism, rather than evaluating what he’d tweeted, he got defensive and dug in. Maybe he needed to hear it from someone that he trusted. And maybe that it was a woman helped him to see that women can help teach successful men.