For reasons not quite discernible to me, for the past 13 days, the actor and former football player Terry Crews has been posting a series of videos on Facebook about his struggles with pornography addiction. They’re convincingly heartfelt and moving and full of real-talk self-help about “proud” and “self-pitying” men, “fearful” women, and how internet porn kills relationships. He’s quite adamant on that point; in the second video, while driving down La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood, he instructs (presumably fearful) women to be “fearless” and take control of their man’s own pornography addiction. “You cannot accept any pornography in your man’s life,” he instructs. “Terry Crews! I’m ridin’ around in L.A. with the top down! Woo-hoo!” he yells about a minute later.
Crews blames the advent of internet porn for the intensity of his addiction, which he says he went to rehab for. “Being on the internet allows you to keep it a secret,” he says. “Before you might have to go search it out, or go look for it, or go to a strip club … but this is a secret. No one can see you at all. You could be all alone … But I’m trying to tell you, that makes it all the more insidious and all the more we have to root it out and call it what it is. It’s kind of like how, when there’s a roach in your house, I promise you there’s 10,000 more roaches.” As of press time it’s unclear what exactly that simile means.
Since 2014, when he published his memoir, Manhood, Crews has been proselytizing against pornography and its harms. Along the way, he linked up with Mormon anti-porn group Fight the New Drug, which is most notable for the “PORN KILLS LOVE/FIGHT FOR LOVE” billboards plastered across San Francisco late last year. Though the group denies direct ties to the Mormon church, every founding member is Mormon, and as the Daily Beast reported last year, FTND’s director of research, Dr. Jason Carroll, is a Brigham Young University professor who’s repeatedly argued that same-sex marriage will not only cause the nation’s fertility rates to plummet, but also weaken the very “connection of heterosexual men to marriage and fatherhood.”
Though Crews doesn’t explicitly mention FTND’s name in his videos, he has openly endorsed the group in the past, and FTND has been using his Facebook videos, which have very little to do with science and more to do with relationship advice, to spread their word. (Not that he objects — he retweeted their blog post about him this morning.)
However, it appears FTND has little actual, uh, science to stand on, though they claimed to the Daily Beast that they are “founded on thousands of peer-reviewed research studies from top-tier neuroscientists, clinical psychologists, sociologists, and more.” Much of the research presumably overseen, or at least curated, by Carroll is largely made up of “writings in pop psychology and by writers who are not conducting actual research, and who do not have backgrounds in sexuality research or treatment,” David Ley, a clinical psychologist, told the Daily Beast. Maybe Ley just hasn’t visited Terry Crews’s Facebook page.