Comedians Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears are being sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of a minor, according to an exclusive in The Daily Beast. Haddish and Spears allegedly abused the plaintiffs, a pair of siblings remaining anonymous as Jane and John Doe, when they were 14 and 7, respectively. They are now 22 and 15. The lawsuit focuses on two alleged incidents.
Haddish became acquainted with the siblings after befriending their mother. In summer 2013, Jane says that Haddish and Spears had the then-14-year-old mimic a video where coeds ate a sandwich in a way that mimed oral sex. As per The Daily Beast:
The complaint claims that Spears told Jane “to mimic what she had seen on the screen, including the noises precisely like what she heard throughout the video.” The 14-year-old, who was allegedly “nervous and disgusted,” fell silent until Haddish returned to the room, the lawsuit claims.
“Haddish verbally explained what was expected of Plaintiff Jane Doe and then showed Plaintiff Jane Doe how to give fellatio, including movements, noises, moaning, and groaning,” the lawsuit states. “At that point,” Jane told The Daily Beast, “I knew a hundred percent what they wanted out of me.” The lawsuit describes Spears allegedly looking on while a “physically, emotionally, and mentally uncomfortable” Jane received this instruction.
“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.” Haddish paid Jane $100, the lawsuit claims, before sending her home.
The second incident involved the 7-year-old John appearing in a video called “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes,” which appeared on Funny or Die. Spears’ character is the titular pedophile:
John spends most of the video clad only in his underwear as Spears’ character leers at him through two holes cut into a newspaper he pretends to read. During the sketch, the camera zooms in suggestively on the 7-year-old’s buttocks and crotch while he plays. Spears sprays baby oil onto the child’s back and massages it into his shoulders in one scene, and at another point the child plays with a train in a manner that suggests phallic masturbation. In another sequence, Spears smokes a cigarette while observing the child nude in a bathtub and pours water on his feet.
By the time the video ends, the child is peering at his babysitter through a newspaper and rubbing baby oil on his shirtless shoulder. The final line of on-screen text reads: “WATCH WHO YOU LEAVE YOUR KIDS WITH!”
Once filming ended, the lawsuit states, “Mr. Doe called his mother crying, saying he did not want to film anymore.”
The ensuing trauma of these alleged incidents has affected both siblings, according to the lawsuit, making it difficult for them to socialize or trust others.
Haddish’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, called the lawsuit “bogus” in a statement to People, at the same time naming the children’s mother and thus jeopardizing their anonymity. Bettler is known for also representing Prince Andrew, Bryan Singer, and Armie Hammer, among other celebrity clients.
“Every attorney who has initially taken on [the mother’s] 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,” he said.
Spears’ attorney echoed this sentiment, stating that the comedian “isn’t going to fall for any shakedown.”