Tiffany Haddish has spoken out for the first time since she and Aries Spears were accused of “intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of a minor”.
In a lawsuit filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court on 30 August, a 22-year-old woman with the pseudonym Jane Doe alleged that the two comedians forced her and her 15-year-old brother –pseudonym John Doe – separately to perform inappropriate acts on camera when they were both minors.
In an Instagram post shared Monday (5 September), Haddish wrote a message to fans, reading: “I know people have a bunch of questions. I get it. I’m right there with you.
“Unfortunately, because there’s an ongoing legal case, there’s very little that I can say right now,” she continued.
Following the lawsuit, the two comedians faced a wave of criticism for an old comedy sketch entitled, “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes”, which was apparently posted on the website Funny or Die.
“Clearly, while this sketch was intended to be comedic, it wasn’t funny at all – and I deeply regret having agreed to act in it,” Haddish added.
A representative for Funny or Die told The Daily Beast in a statement that they “found this video absolutely disgusting and would never produce such content”.
“We were not involved with the conceptualisation, development, funding, or production of this video. It was uploaded to the site as user-generated content and was removed in 2018 immediately after becoming aware of its existence.”
According to the complaint, Spears played a paedophile in the video, which included scenes of him massaging oil onto John’s back, among other sexually suggestive acts. The lawsuit claimed that after the shoot ended, “[John] called his mother crying, saying he did not want to film anymore”.
The report indicates that at the time, Jane was 14 years old and John was seven.
Elsewhere in the suit, Jane claimed Haddish recruited her to film a commercial after she attended a comedy camp where Haddish was a guest speaker.
According to the legal documents, Haddish and Spears allegedly had Jane watch a video in which a man and woman shared a sandwich in “a manner that simulated the act of fellatio” while “moaning and making sexual noises”.
Spears then allegedly told Jane “to mimic what she had seen on the screen, including the noises precisely like what she heard throughout the video”.
The complaint said Jane recalled feeling “nervous and disgusted” at that time, adding that “Haddish verbally explained what was expected of Plaintiff Jane Doe and then showed Plaintiff Jane Doe how to give fellatio, including movements, noises, moaning, and groaning”.
Representatives for Haddish and Spears denied the allegations in separate statements on 1 September.
Haddish’s attorney Andrew Brettler said in a statement that the plaintiff’s mother “has been trying to assert these bogus claims against Haddish for several years”.
Spears’ attorney Debra Opri added that her client “isn’t going to fall for any shakedown”.
If you’re worried about a child, even if you’re unsure, you can contact professional counsellors at the NSPCC for help, advice and support by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0808 800 5000. For those 18 or under, Childline offers free, confidential advice and support whatever your worry, whenever you need help. Call 0800 1111 or Contact Childline.