A new lawsuit accuses Tiffany Haddish and comedian Aries Spears of grooming a teenage girl and her young brother for sexually abusive film shoots, including one that was published on the website Funny or Die, according to reports.
The Daily Beast was the first to report the complaint, filed Tuesday in California Superior Court in Los Angeles County. The plaintiff siblings, identified as Jane Doe, 22, and John Doe, 15, say the two film shoots occurred in 2013 and 2014. Jane Doe identified herself as John Doe’s current legal guardian, according to The Daily Beast.
Jane alleged she attended a comedy camp in the summer of 2013 when Haddish visited as a guest speaker and told Jane she had “a perfect role for her.” Neither Jane nor her mother, who allegedly met Haddish and became close with her, knew the details of the alleged commercial, which was to be produced by Spears.
The filing, which was also reported by Page Six, People and other outlets, claimed Haddish and Spears asked Jane to watch a video of two people eating a sandwich from both ends while “moaning and making sexual noises as they both ate the sandwich in a manner that simulated the act of fellatio.”
Spears allegedly asked Jane “to mimic what she had seen on the screen, including the noises precisely like what she heard throughout the video.” Jane claimed she was “nervous and disgusted” and couldn’t speak, until Haddish entered the recording booth to instruct Jane on the act.
“I tried to mimic what they wanted me to mimic, but it still came out just super uncomfortable,” Jane told The Daily Beast. “I knew when I left the booth that I didn’t complete what they wanted me to do. I didn’t confide to my mom — I didn’t confide to nobody else about how weird I felt at that moment.”
Haddish allegedly paid Jane $100.
The suit claimed Haddish approached Jane’s mother — who told The Daily Beast they were “really, really super, super close” and that Haddish called them for “every birthday and every Christmas” — one year later to recruit Jane’s brother for a supposed Nickelodeon sizzle reel.
Then 7 years old, John ended up in a video published in 2014 on Funny or Die, titled “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes.” It was allegedly filmed at Spears’ home, according to People. Jane, who accompanied John, said Haddish — who was also present — exhibited a complete behavioral change once their mother left.
The filing alleged Haddish told Jane to stay downstairs while the two comedians filmed her brother’s sketch upstairs. The Daily Beast, which reported to have seen the video, said Haddish portrayed a mother and left her son with Spears — who played a pedophile.
It reportedly showed Spears rubbing baby oil on John’s back, John mimicking masturbation with a toy train, and bathing in a tub while Spears smoked a cigarette. The sketch reportedly ended with a title card reading: “WATCH WHO YOU LEAVE YOUR KIDS WITH!”
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Funny or Die said it removed the video in 2018 “immediately after becoming aware of its existence.”
“Funny Or Die found this video absolutely disgusting and would never produce such content. We were not involved with the conceptualization, development, funding, or production of this video. It was uploaded to the site as user-generated content,” a representative told the news outlet.
The suit alleged John “called his mother crying, saying he did not want to film anymore.” Haddish allegedly called his mother to reassure her and said “acting is not for him.” His mother claimed to have spent weeks asking for the footage, which Spears allegedly claimed was deleted.
Andrew B. Brettler, an attorney for Haddish, vehemently denied the allegations.
“Plaintiff’s mother … has been trying to assert these bogus claims against Ms. Haddish for several years,” Brettler told HuffPost.
“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,” added Brettler. “Now, [she] has her adult daughter representing herself in this lawsuit.”
An attorney for Spears, Debra Opri, told HuffPost: “He isn’t going to fall for any shakedown.”
Haddish and Spears are both accused in the suit of intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment and sexual abuse of a minor. Haddish is also accused of negligent supervision/failure to warn, constructive fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
The lawsuit claimed both Jane and John Doe have been traumatized by the two incidents, and that Jane “feels constant remorse knowing that she was only a few feet away when Spears was molesting her 7-year-old little brother in the other room.” John said he is “scared of adults” and has no friends.
Brettler, however, suggested potential legal action against the plaintiffs.
“The two of them will together face the consequences of pursuing this frivolous action,” Brettler told HuffPost.