A disturbing new lawsuit alleges comedians Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears coerced a 7-year-old boy and his 14-year-old sister to appear in sexually explicit comedy skits that left them with “severe emotional damage.”
The alleged Jane Doe victim, now 22, filed the complaint Tuesday in Los Angeles on behalf of herself and her young brother. It claims Haddish and Aries groomed the minors and compelled them to participate in separate, sexually suggestive video shoots without a parent or guardian present in 2013 and 2014.
Lawyers for the comedians said Thursday that their clients were being extorted.
“Plaintiff’s mother, [name redacted], has been trying to assert these bogus claims against Ms. Haddish for several years. Every attorney who has initially taken on her case — and there were several — ultimately dropped the matter once it became clear that the claims were meritless, and Ms. Haddish would not be shaken down,” Haddish’s lawyer Andrew Brettler said in a statement sent to Rolling Stone.
“He isn’t going to fall for any shakedown,” Spears’ lawyer Debra Opri said in a separate statement.
The lawsuit, first reported by The Daily Beast, identifies Jane Doe as her younger brother’s current legal guardian.
In an email to Rolling Stone, Jane Doe said she would not be deterred. “The evidence is out there for the world to see. There is no denying that my brother was molested by Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears in 2014,” she wrote.
According to the 31-page filing, Jane Doe was attending a comedy camp at the Laugh Factory in 2013 when Haddish recruited her to appear in an apparent parody of a Subway commercial. (The lawsuit also states Haddish was “a longtime family friend” of the plaintiffs’ mother.)
Jane Doe claims Haddish bought her lunch, drove her to a “Hollywood set” and had her watch a video showing a man and a woman “making sexual noises” as they ate a sandwich “in a manner that simulated the act of fellatio.” Jane Doe claims Haddish and Spears, who apparently met them at the set, encouraged her to mimic the commercial by pantomiming fellatio.
“Physically, emotionally, and mentally uncomfortable, plaintiff Jane Doe mimicked the acts that Haddish and Spears wanted her to do so she could go home,” the lawsuit states, adding that Haddish subsequently paid Jane Doe $100 and sent her home.
A year later in 2014, Haddish and Spears brought both siblings to another video shoot at Spears’ residence, the paperwork states. Jane Doe says she was separated from her brother while Haddish and Spears filmed a skit with the boy titled “Through A Pedophiles Eyes” that would be uploaded to the popular Funny Or Die comedy website.
In the nearly five-minute skit reviewed by Rolling Stone, Haddish plays the boy’s constantly disappearing mother while Spears, a former regular on the FOX sketch comedy show MADtv, plays his creepy, last-minute babysitter “Uncle Pete.”
Spears is shown leering lustily at the 7-year-old John Doe through peepholes cut in a newspaper as the boy plays on the floor in his underwear. Spears later rubs oil on the boy’s back and eventually climbs into a bubble bath with the child. The video ends with the boy rubbing oil on Spears’ bare shoulder and a title card reading, ‘WATCH WHO YOU LEAVE YOUR KIDS WITH!”
Funny Or Die confirmed the video had been shared on its platform but was later deleted.
“Funny Or Die found this video absolutely disgusting and would never produce such content,” the company said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “We were not involved with the conceptualization, 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 lawsuit, the “extreme and outrageous” conduct of Haddish and Spears caused the siblings to be “traumatized for life.” The paperwork states Jane Doe developed a social disorder that prevents her from socializing and making friends. It says John Doe rarely leaves his home and “places Band-Aids over the cameras on his electronics for fear of being watched or recorded.”
The filing claims the siblings’ mother attempted to reach a $15,000 settlement with Spears in 2018 that would have indemnified the comedian. It says the effort should be considered non-binding because the mother was not represented by a lawyer.
“Plaintiff’s mother simply wanted the nightmare to end and attempted the settlement through mental
anguish. …She barely could take care of herself and make her own decisions after learning about the molestation, let alone represent herself and Mr. Doe in a settlement agreement,” the lawsuit states, adding that Haddish was not a party to the negotiation.
“Haddish insinuated she wanted no part of the Spears settlement agreement via text,” the complaint says.
In his statement Thursday, Brettler hinted Haddish is considering legal action of her own, saying Jane Doe and her mother “will together face the consequences of pursuing this frivolous action.”