Comedian Tiffany Haddish expressed regret Monday for participating in a comedy skit in which she allegedly forced a 7-year-old child to perform sexually suggestive acts, after she and fellow comedian Ariel Spears were sued in state court for alleged sex abuse against the minor and his similarly underaged sister.
Haddish wrote in an Instagram post Monday she “deeply regret[s] having agreed to act” in the comedy sketch, which was filmed in 2014 and was titled “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes.”
The comedian said that while the sketch was “intended to be comedic, it wasn’t funny at all,” though she did not comment further on the situation, citing the ongoing litigation.
In the video, which was uploaded to the site FunnyOrDie, the child—identified in the lawsuit only as John Doe—is seen in his underwear as Spears, playing a pedophile, leers at him and massages his back, along with other sexually suggestive acts, according to the Daily Beast.
The lawsuit also takes aim at Haddish and Spears for a 2013 video in which Haddish directed Doe’s 14-year-old sister, identified only as Jane Doe, to mimic performing fellatio while eating a sandwich, alleging Haddish “showed Plaintiff Jane Doe how to give fellatio, including movements, noises, moaning, and groaning” despite Jane being “nervous and disgusted” by the request.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges the incidents—particularly John Doe’s participation in the pedophile video and its resulting impacts on his family—have caused the siblings and their mother significant ongoing trauma.
Haddish’s statement comes after her attorney Andrew Brettler previously commented on the lawsuit and called it a “frivolous action,” arguing the plaintiffs’ mother “has been trying to assert these bogus claims against Ms. Haddish for several years.”
“I know people have a bunch of questions. I get it. I’m right there with you,” Haddish wrote on Instagram Monday, adding she “really look[s] forward to being able to share a lot more about this situation as soon as I can.”
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According to copies of the litigation reported by the Daily Beast and People, Haddish and Spears are facing accusations of intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment and sexual abuse of a minor. Haddish faces additional allegations of negligence supervision/failure to warn, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud. Jane Doe, now 22 years old, has also asked the Los Angeles County District Attorney to “immediately arrest and prosecute” the two comedians, according to a letter reported by the Daily Beast Monday, accusing officers of “[doing] nothing with this complaint” after receiving a police report about the incident before the lawsuit was filed. The police report was initially filed in Las Vegas in January 2020 before being transferred to the Los Angeles Police Department, according to the Daily Beast.
Haddish was a “longtime family friend” of the plaintiffs’ mother after they met through the comedy circuit, according to the lawsuit, and she asked Jane Doe to participate in a commercial after speaking at a camp the then-teenager was at, allegedly telling her it was “the perfect role for her” but not revealing what the video would involve. Haddish then got John Doe to participate in the pedophilia video after pitching it as a “sizzle reel for Nickelodeon,” and the child allegedly called his mother crying from the video shoot “saying he did not want to film anymore.” In a statement included in the complaint, as reported by the Daily Beast, John Doe said while undergoing therapy for his trauma that the sketch “f–ked me up bad” and he “spend[s] all of my time in my room and do not go anywhere because I don’t trust anybody.” The plaintiffs’ mother reached a settlement with Spears in 2019 over the sketch, in which the Daily Beast reports Spears denied the claims against him but agreed to stop any distribution of the comedy video. That settlement did not include Haddish or Jane Doe, however, and also did not legally bar the siblings from bringing additional legal claims. FunnyOrDie has denied any involvement with the video and said it was uploaded independently as user-generated content. A representative told the Daily Beast the website “found this video absolutely disgusting” and “immediately” removed it in 2018 “after becoming aware of its existence.”
Comedians Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears Accused of Child Sexual Abuse (Daily Beast)
Accuser Calls on DA to Arrest Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears ‘Immediately’ in Child Sexual Abuse Case (Daily Beast)
Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears accused of child sexual abuse in lawsuit; their reps call it a ‘shakedown’ (CNN)