Tiffany Haddish has made her first public statement after a child abuse lawsuit was filed against her and comedian Aries Spears. The lawsuit revolves around sketches that she filmed with Spears, one of which got attention online as news of the lawsuit broke.
“I know people have a bunch of questions. I get it. I’m right there with you,” she said on Instagram in part.
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“Unfortunately because there is an ongoing legal case, there’s very little that I can say right now. But, 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. I really look forward to being able to share a lot more about this situation as soon as I can.”
Following an expose from The Daily Beast, multiple outlets report that two anonymous plaintiffs have alleged that the comedians recruited them to perform lewd acts of a sexual nature as part of a series of comedy sketches filmed in 2013. It is reported that the two individuals were underage at the time of the alleged incidents.
Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears have been accused of inflicting "emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of a minor."
According to IndieWire, the two alleged victims are the children of one of Haddish’s friends.
Back in 2013, the Girls Trip star informed the family that she had found a “perfect role” for the daughter, Jane Doe, in a commercial she was filming.
The lawsuit alleges that Haddish and Spears brought Jane Doe into a recording booth and asked her to watch a video featuring a group of women “moaning and making sexual noises as they both ate the sandwich in a manner that simulated the act of fellatio.”
Spears then allegedly asked the 14-year-old girl to mimic what she saw in the video, which made Jane uncomfortable. She later followed through when Haddish reiterated the request.
“Haddish verbally explained what was expected of Plaintiff Jane Doe,” the lawsuit reads. “And then showed Plaintiff Jane Doe how to give fellatio, including movements, noises, moaning, and groaning.”
atio.” Spears then allegedly asked the 14-year-old girl to mimic what she saw in the video, which made Jane uncomfortable. She later followed through when Haddish reiterated the request. “Haddish verbally explained what was expected of Plaintiff Jane Doe,” the lawsuit reads. “And then showed Plaintiff Jane Doe how to give fellatio, including movements, noises, moaning, and groaning.”
The video is said to feature the then seven-year-old boy in his underwear or in the nude as Spears pretends to creepily stare at him.
The lawsuit states that at the end of the shoot, “Mr. Doe called his mother crying, saying he did not want to film anymore.”
Haddish's attorney denies these allegations.
Not long after news of this lawsuit made headlines, Tiffany Haddish’s lawyer Andrew Brettler of Lavely & Singer released a statement to IndieWire denying the plaintiffs’ claims.
According to the outlet, the plantiffs' mother negotiated a settlement with Haddish's legal team in 2019.
However, now that Jane Doe is bringing on this lawsuit without her mother, the former agreement that was settled is no longer binding.
“As an adult, I have the power to protect my little brother now and have the power to do something about what happened to him. And that’s what my goal is to get done,” Jane Doe recently told The Daily Beast. “Just to show my little brother that, ‘Hey, I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to protect you and be there for you then. But this is how I’m showing up for you now.’”