Actor Terry Crews apologized Sunday after tweeting a day earlier that children raised by same-sex parents are “severely malnourished” when it comes to love.
“It was the wrong choice of words in response to another tweet. I apologize,” Crews tweeted, referring to his since-deleted tweet from Saturday that suggested children need both paternal and maternal love to fully thrive.
It all started on Feb. 24 when Crews criticized a New York Times opinion piece by human rights lawyer Derecka PurnelI titled “Why Does Obama Scold Black Boys?” In her piece, Purnell argues that the former president spends too much time “finger-wagging” at black boys instead of encouraging them to dismantle the systems that oppress them.
The “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor questioned whether Purnell as a woman was equipped to comment on how to raise “successful young men.”
“How would she know?” Crews tweeted. “You can speak with us ― just not FOR US. There is a big difference.”
Crews, who has become a leading male activist in the Me Too movement after speaking out about his own sexual assault, faced immediate backlash on Twitter for doubting Purnell’s credentials.
“You’re a good dude, but you might leave this one to experts,” tweeted Andray Domise, a contributing editor for Canadian news magazine Maclean’s. “I disagree with propagating myths about the Black family, and delegitimizing a credentialed Black woman. That’s not OK.”
Purnell defended her piece on Wednesday, pointing out that she has two sons while Obama “met his dad once” and has two daughters.
“I am genuinely confused,” she tweeted, adding that she never said Obama couldn’t give black boys advice. “I said he had power to make changes that don’t match his advice.”
Crews stood by his criticism of Purnell’s op-ed in the days to follow, though the discussion on Twitter began to focus more on the roles that mothers and fathers play in their children’s lives.
“Same sex couples and single parents can successfully raise a child,” Crews tweeted Saturday. “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.”
His tweets on parenthood drew outrage from some LGBTQ community members and their allies who viewed them as disparaging and homophobic.
“Love is not gendered,” one Twitter user wrote in response. “A child will not starve with only one gender loving them.”
Crews responded, “But they will be severely malnourished,” sparking even more backlash and prompting the actor to apologize for his word choice the next day.
Crews has come under fire over his remarks about the LGBTQ community in the past. In July 2018, he tweeted that he was still “learning and reflecting” after backlash over comments some called “transphobic.”
“Why is it considered perfectly fine to be transgender, but deemed totally unacceptable to be TRANSRACIAL?” Crews had posted on Instagram, an apparent reference to Rachel Dolezal, the white woman from Washington state who posed as a black woman for years until she was outed by local media in 2015. She had said she identifies as “transracial.”
“Terry... no,” tweeted writer Clarkisha Kent. “These two are not remotely the same. And what’s worse, proponents of the latter have purposely attempted to Columbus this term from transracial families/adoptees. I am very disappointed.”