This is certainly no laughing matter.
A pair of siblings with close ties to Tiffany Haddish are at the center of a lawsuit against the actress and fellow comedian Aries Spears. According to The Daily Beast reports, the siblings filed using pseudonyms due to their ages (14 and 7) at the time of the allegations. Jane Doe, 22, the plaintiff on behalf of both herself and her minor brother John, 15, (she is his guardian) filed the complaint around two alleged separate incidents where Haddish and Spears allegedly encouraged them to perform sexually suggestive acts on camera while underage.
Jane Doe Says Tiffany Haddish And Aries Spears Had Her Simulate Fellatio On Camera
Jane says in the summer of 2013 Haddish — who was a friend of the siblings’ mother — approached her about filming “a perfect role for her.” According to the complaint, neither Jane nor her mother was told what would be required of her. Spears was on hand to produce and he and Haddish allegedly had her watch a clip that showed a group of coeds first arguing over a subway sandwich, then eating the sandwich in a suggestive manner from opposite ends, “moaning and making sexual noises as they both ate the sandwich in a manner that simulated the act of fellatio.”
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.”
The lawsuit claims Haddish paid Jane $100 before sending her home. A year later, Haddish went to the siblings’ mother to recruit Jane’s younger brother John for another video. Haddish reportedly told the family John would be filming a sizzle reel for Nickelodeon, but the complaint alleges the 7-year-old was actually filmed in a video posted on Funny or Die and other online platforms titled “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes.”
A representative for Funny or Die provided The Daily Beast with the following statement related to the matter:
“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 and was removed in 2018 immediately after becoming aware of its existence.”
Tiffany Haddish And Aries Spears Accused Of Child Sex Abuse Over “Pedophile” Skit
The Daily Beast reviewed a recording of the video, which portrays Haddish as the boy’s guardian, who leaves him with Spears, playing the role of a pedophile. John wears only underwear for the majority of the video, which features Spears’ character gaping at him through holes cut into a newspaper he is pretending to read. At times during the sketch, the camera zooms in on the boy’s buttocks and crotch while he plays. In one scene, Spears sprays baby oil onto the boy’s back and massages it into his shoulders. In another, the child plays with a train in a manner suggesting masturbation. One sequence even includes Spears smoking a cigarette while John bathes in a tub.
According to the lawsuit, after completing filming, “Mr. Doe called his mother crying, saying he did not want to film anymore.” If that’s not already alarming enough, John’s mother says Haddish wasn’t very reassuring when she went looking for answers:
“She said something to the effect of, ‘I don’t think acting is for him,’” the mother recalled. “And I’m like… What the F you mean, acting isn’t for him? My son is crying. Like, what is going on?”
The children’s mother allegedly spent the following week contacting Spears and asking to see the footage, however after first claiming it hadn’t been edited, Spears next claimed that John had been so uncooperative that his footage had been deemed unusable and subsequently deleted.
John Doe’s Mother Learned Of “Pedophile” Skit From BOSSIP Article
According to The Daily Beast, it was only four years later when we published an article about Spears which described the sketch in detail that the siblings’ mother became aware of what had been filmed.
Jane became John’s guardian toward the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020 due to traumatic personal issues impacting their mother’s mental and physical health. According to the lawsuit, Jane Doe has enrolled both her brother and herself in therapy. The complaint includes a statement John wrote during his treatment:
“I don’t got no friends,” the now-teenager wrote. “I don’t trust nobody, I’m scared of adults, I refuse to be recorded or take pictures because I am scared of weird-ass adults trying to do nasty stuff to me again. I spend all of my time in my room and do not go anywhere because I don’t trust anybody.”
John adds later: “I had to kick and scream and cry, and Tiffany came and told me to let him touch me. When I kept crying, Tiffany got mad at me, told me to get dressed, and took me home. I remember her yelling at me in the car, telling me that I would never get on tv acting like that.”
“I know now that they are fu**ed up for what they did to me,” the 14-year-old’s statement concludes, “and none of this is my fault.”
Mother Of Jane And John Doe Reached Prior Settlement With Aries Spears
According to the lawsuit, the siblings’ mother negotiated a settlement with Spears in 2019, but that agreement doesn’t bind Haddish or the siblings, who were without a guardian ad litem present to represent their interests as minors. The Daily Beast reviewed the settlement document, in which Spears “denies the validity of the claims” regarding the video’s production and distribution but agrees “to stop the distribution, exhibition and further use of the video.” The document names Spears, the siblings’ mother, and John; however, Jane does not appear.
The siblings’ mother also filed a police report against Spears and Haddish in January of 2020, which did not result in any charges filed.
“As an adult, I have the power to protect my little brother now and have the power to do something about what happened to him,” Jane told The Daily Beast. “And that’s what my goal is to get done. Just to show my little brother that, hey, I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to protect you and be there for you then. But this is how I’m showing up for you now.”
In Jane’s complaint, Spears and Haddish are both accused 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, breach of fiduciary duty, and constructive fraud. The lawsuit seeks general and special damages, as well as “any appropriate statutory damages.”
The Daily Beast also reports that while Tiffany Haddish did not respond to requests for comment for days prior to them running their story, following its publication, Andrew Brettler, an attorney representing Haddish, issued a statement on her behalf saying that the plaintiff’s mother “has been trying to assert these bogus claims against Ms. Haddish for several years… Now, [the mother] has her adult daughter representing herself in this lawsuit. The two of them will together face the consequences of pursuing this frivolous action.”
Brettler was even more dismissive in his statement to the Los Angeles Times, telling the publication:
“Plaintiff’s mother, Trizah Morris, 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.
“Now, Ms. Morris has her adult daughter representing herself in this lawsuit. The two of them will together face the consequences of pursuing this frivolous action.”
Similarly an attorney for Spears, Debra Opri, reached by The Times Thursday, responded:
“He isn’t going to fall for any shakedown.”
Wow. Wow. Wow. This sounds pretty bad. Do you think this could permanently cancel Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears? Or is this, as Tiffany’s lawyer claims, a “bogus” shakedown?