Tiffany Haddish has spoken out after being accused of harassment.
Last Tuesday, a 22-year-old woman identified as Jane Doe sued Haddish, 42, and comedian Aries Spears, 47, in California Superior Court for Los Angeles County on behalf of herself and a minor identified as John Doe, her younger brother. In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Jane claimed that Haddish “groomed” the accusers and left them “traumatized for life.”
The plaintiff claimed that Haddish was a “longtime family friend” of her mother and that in 2013, when Jane Doe was 14, Haddish took her to the set of a “sexually suggestive Subways commercial” that Haddish allegedly said would help Jane Doe move on . television and will be included in the teenager’s film reel. During filming, Haddish allegedly instructed Jane Doe how to perform inappropriate sexual acts after watching a man and a woman on video.
In a statement on Instagram on Monday morning, Haddish wrote: “I know people have a lot of questions. I understand. I’m here with you. Unfortunately, with the ongoing legal case, there’s very little I can say.” Now.”
“But,” she continued, “it’s clear that while this sketch was meant to be comedic, it wasn’t funny at all — and I deeply regret agreeing to be in it. I’m really looking forward to sharing much more about this situation as soon as possible.”
According to the filing, plaintiff John Doe was allegedly molested by Spears in 2014 after Haddish told him she would be filming a Nickelodeon spot at Spears’ home. While there, Haddish allegedly told Jane Doe that she needed John Doe alone and took him to a room where Spears began “harassing” the then-7-year-old in the film. Prosecutors’ court documents allege that Haddish witnessed the alleged incident “and aided, abetted and watched as Spears sexually assaulted the child.”
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John Doe said in his statement that Spears and Haddish gave him a drink that made him sleepy and “candy for a happy face.” Haddish also allegedly paid the siblings $100, he said.
“Plaintiffs were both minors and were unable to consent to participate in the sexually explicit videos distributed and published through ‘Funny or Die’s’ platform,” the lawsuit states, adding, “No parent or guardian was present.”
Haddish and Spears are being sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual abuse of a minor. Haddish is also being sued for negligent supervision/failure to warn, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Funny or Die said: “Funny Or Die found this video absolutely disgusting and would never create such content. We were not involved in the conceptualization, development, financing or production of this video. It was uploaded to the website as user-generated content and was removed in 2018 immediately after learning of its existence.”
Haddish’s attorney said in a statement of claim that the plaintiff’s mother “has been attempting to make these false claims against Ms. Haddish for several years. Every lawyer who initially took on her case—and there were several—ended up dropping the matter at one point or another. it was clear the claims were unfounded and Ms. Haddish would not budge.”
Added the lawyer: “Now, [the mother] is to represent his adult daughter in this lawsuit. The two of them will face the consequences of this reckless action together.”
Spears’ lawyer also said in a statement that she “will not fall for any shakedown.”
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text “STRENGTH” to the SMS Crisis Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.
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