Best advice I’ve heard, as of late? “You should’ve just sat there and flexed your pecs” (h/t Thickey Smiley, via Twitter). Hopefully, Terry Crews heard it too, because the perpetual pec-flexer might’ve been better off sticking to his
guns regularly programmed shtick than continuing to weigh in on the self-created controversy sparked by his recent response to Gabrielle Union’s firing from America’s Got Talent.
Now, to be clear: I’m not advocating for silencing folks—especially not victims of sexual assault. But after being called out across social media last week for a seeming lack of support for Union, who publicly supported his 2017 sexual assault allegations, Crews, (who’s clearly vying to be AGT’s Employee of the Month), could’ve easily opted to do what he likely should’ve done in the first place and refrained from commenting further.
Instead, on Monday, he decided to tweet (or sub-tweet, if you will):
“‘I’m a hog. You’re a chicken. Just ‘cuz you gave me eggs—Don’t mean I owe you bacon.’’ —Ancient Flint Michigan proverb”
Now, since I have a few family members in Flint, from whence Terry hails, I checked on this supposedly ancient Negro wisdom; and by all accounts, it’s seemingly not a thing outside of the Crews household. What is a thing, however, is the business fable of the pig and the chicken, in which the duo discuss ways to please their farmer, proposing they fix him a hearty breakfast (h/t Agile Jedi):
The chicken, understanding that he had little else to offer suggested, “I could provide some eggs.”
The pig knew the farmer might want more, “That’s a fine start. What else should we make?”
The chicken looked around...scratched his head...then said, “ham? The farmer loves ham and eggs!”
The pig, very mindful of what this implied, said, “that’s fine, but while you’re making a contribution I’m making a real commitment!”
[In tech world-speak] “the term Pig has come to describe all the developers, designers and testers who commit to the actual work. The term Chicken is applied to everyone else who make intellectual contributions but do not commit to any work.”
Is that what Crews thinks is happening here? Last week, in the midst of contradicting Union’s purported experience while being interviewed by his NBC colleagues, he at least managed to belatedly offer that he believes “you should always listen to women.” But if we’re now having a chicken/hog argument, is the underlying inference that his work or experience is of more value than hers—or, for that matter, the legions of other black women who caped for him two years ago, many of whom are still trying to educate him now?
OK, maybe that’s a reach—or maybe it would be, if not for his followup a few hours later:
“There is only one woman one [sic] earth I have to please,” Crews, 51, tweeted Monday. “Her name is Rebecca. Not my mother, my sister, my daughters or co-workers. I will let their husbands/ boyfriends/ partners take care of them. Rebecca gives me WINGS.”
In case you’re unclear, “Rebecca” is Terry’s wife—and, Terry, it’s wonderful that you center your partner in all things—and that Rebecca makes you feel like you had a Red Bull. But what does that have to do with the issue at hand? While we do find it eyebrow-raising that you seem to presume only partnered women (including your mother, sister, daughters, etc.) are worthy of pleasing (or protection? We’re still unclear about that “take care of” part), let’s be perfectly clear: We’re not asking you to please us.
Terry, we’re simply asking that you don’t throw black women under the bus for the sake of your bonus; especially after we’ve ridden on said bus for you. Plus, didn’t you say that on the subject of Union, your wife told you, “If she hasn’t made a statement, why would you?”
If Rebecca basically advised you to shut up from the get, why are you still talking, Terry? Nobody had to be a hog—or a chicken—and Farmer NBC would still feed itself; hopefully not on the carcass of your swiftly shrinking goodwill.
Of course, we don’t know Rebecca personally, so we polled some other black Beckys on their feelings about this, including The Root’s new Senior Editor Rebecca Thomas, and my favorite cousin, also named Rebecca, who simply shrugged and said:
“Willful ignorance is a thing...he’s clearly chosen to sit this one out. What’s motivating him to do so, I can’t say, but I’m inclined to say it has more to do with a Benjamin than a Becca.”
Since it’s been well-documented that at this point, there are inanimate objects more supportive than Terry Crews, I’m not sure what we should expect—but what I do know is his responses have been duly noted. While NBC may be thrilled with his performance, his mentions are increasingly looking like a perpetual Chrissy Teigen-cringe GIF. And for what?
Terry, your AGT contract may be lucrative, but shutting up is...well, you already know.