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Terry Crews has been hit with a lawsuit that accuses him of bullying the digital marketeer hired to boost the actor’s online presence.
Symbolic Web Media and Darwin Hall filed the complaint Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The plaintiffs say that in 1999, Crews was transitioning from former football player to aspiring actor and wanted assistance to enhance his online presence and obtain additional followers. Symbolic was allegedly hired for $55 an hour with compensation deferred until Crews “made it” in the industry.
Crews has certainly made it. He’s now starring on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and received ample praise for coming forward to share a story of allegedly being sexually assaulted. The actor has testified before Congress and is pursuing a lawsuit against WME and agent Adam Venit.
Now, Crews is facing multiple claims as a defendant.
According to the complaint, Symbolic performed services for Crews for nearly two decades including on terrycrews.com. The firm was paid $28,479, but it claims that amount covered just 296 hours of work instead of over 6,000 hours actually performed.
In July 2013, Symbolic says that it began work for a separate client on a dating app for professional women.
“The client identifies as LGBT, although the app did not involve the LGBT community,” states the complaint. “Crews found out that Plaintiffs were working on the app and flew into a rage. Defendant Crews told Plaintiffs that in no uncertain terms could Defendants continue to work with Plaintiffs if Plaintiffs worked with anyone that was LGBT on an app for the LGBT community. Plaintiffs told Defendants that the app did not involve the LGBT community, and that because the client had already paid for Plaintiffs to build the app, Plaintiffs were contractually obligated to perform the work.”
Crews promised to reimburse funds, continues the complaint, but after Symbolic stopped working on the app, the actor allegedly ignored the request for payment.
“Thereafter, as Plaintiffs’ counsel began to negotiate with Defendants’ counsel to come to some sort of resolution over the outstanding balance, Defendant Crews retaliated with unbelievable and unlawful cyberstalking, cyberbullying, harassment, and destruction of Plaintiffs’ reputation and business,” states the complaint.
Via social media, Crews tells a different story. According to him, it wasn’t any sort of dating app — but rather pornography.
Referring to terrycrews.com, Crews tweeted, “The guy I paid to create it is squatting on it for $1,000,000. This is not a joke. He can have it.”
“Guy used to be a friend so I paid him to help him out— until I found out he was creating porn sites — so I let him go,” added Crews. “Therefore the revenge shakedown.”
More from Crews: “Then he started trademarking things regarding me without my knowledge – ‘pec pop’ etc . . . other ideas we talked about in confidence. It blew me away.”
“One time he bragged about trying to kill his college roommate by spiking the guy’s peanut butter with mercury,” Crews tweeted on another occasion. “He said the guy got really sick, but didn’t die. I don’t know if it was true or not, but He was bragging to subtly let me know how far he would go if ever crossed.”
For these statements and others, Hall is asserting defamation.
But that’s not all. There’s also a cyberstalking claim.
According to the complaint, “In response to Defendant Crews’ false and defamatory posts, Plaintiff Hall was located, and then contacted by numerous followers of Defendant Crews, who threatened Plaintiff’s life, property, and business and promised to hunt him down for ‘hurting’ Defendant Crews, even publicly asking Defendant Crews if Defendant Crews would pay a ‘bounty’ for Plaintiff Hall. Plaintiff Hall was terrified and feared for his safety as well as that of his family.”
Hall, represented by attorney Neville Johnson, goes so far as to allege that Crews “actively encouraged and recruited followers … to hunt down and attack” Hall and then “redoubled his efforts” after being asked to stop the harassment.
The lawsuit makes the rather extraordinary demand that Crews be enjoined from issuing and posting — or even causing others to post — “insults and personal affronts regarding anything regarding the Plaintiff whatsoever, including but not limited to anything regarding the professional and personal character and reputation of Plaintiffs.”
Symbolic and Hall also demand the immediate deletion of posts that reference them as well as damages for breach of contract, defamation, cyberstalking and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
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