Empire star Terrence Howard goes on tweeting spree about domestic violence

Terrence Howard and his wife Miranda Pak at the recent Oscars.
Terrence Howard and his wife Miranda Pak at the recent Oscars. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • Actor Terrence Howard, who has been accused of assaulting multiple former partners, has a lot to say about domestic violence - including denying ever being "abusive to anyone in my entire life".

The Empire actor went on a tweetstorm over the weekend, days after People magazine published a feature about him and his family.

"I've made terrible mistakes throughout my life," he told the magazine.

"I was dragging baggage with me that was crippling me mentally and physically. But I finally feel I can put that to rest. I can breathe again."

"When I say that I've made mistakes, it is not regarding violence but judgment," he tweeted. "Trusting the wrong people!"

He also wrote that "for years, every (sic) since these allegations have been brought against me I have been told not to address it. I can't remain quiet".

For context: Howard told Rolling Stone magazine in 2015 that he had slapped his first wife. He was referring to a 2001 incident, in which he was arrested and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct; according to the police report, he had "punched her twice with a closed fist".

"She was talking to me real strong, and I lost my mind and slapped her in front of the kids," he told the magazine. "Her lawyer said it was a closed fist, but even slapping her was wrong."

Then there was a 2013 trip to Costa Rica with another ex-wife, Michelle Ghent, who was photographed with a black eye.

Ghent filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the 48-year-old actor, alleging he assaulted her during the trip and threatened to kill her. She dropped the lawsuit earlier this year.

"She was trying to Mace me," Howard told Rolling Stone.

"And you can't see anything, so all you can do is try to bat somebody away and I think that something caught her. But I wasn't trying to hit her."

The People feature from last week described what happened during the divorce proceedings with Ghent: "Howard has claimed selfdefence in regards to the Ghent altercation and in a 2015 divorce hearing, his lawyer argued that he signed their spousal support agreement 'under duress'. The judge called Howard a 'bully', but ruled in the actor's favour. The decision is currently under appeal."

But it seemed that the actor's comments about "past mistakes" to People is what prompted him to fire off more than a dozen tweets - including some about a "double standard" regarding women and domestic violence.

"I firmly believe that every action has an equal and opposite reaction," he tweeted.

"Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Kiss for a (kiss)."

He also retweeted a follower who wrote "my best male friend was abused by his wife for years, physically, and verbally".

Howard replied: "As was I."

The actor is known for making questionable comments, ranging from his insistence that women use baby wipes and his description of a logic he dubbed "Terryology", in which one multiplied by one equals two.

But these recent tweets have drawn attention to his history of domestic incidents. In some of the cases, he countered that he was the victim of violence.

For instance, a girlfriend alleged that he attacked her during an argument. He filed assault charges against her. Both dropped criminal charges and settled in secret.

Howard also pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for a 2005 incident involving punching strangers in a restaurant. He was accused of knocking a man to the ground and hitting a woman. He insisted to Rolling Stone that he had acted in self-defence.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2017, with the headline 'Empire star goes on tweeting spree about domestic violence'. Print Edition | Subscribe