Tiffany Haddish has made her first public comments since she was accused in a lawsuit last week of grooming and molesting a 14-year-old girl and the teen’s seven-year-old brother.
In a statement posted on Instagram Monday morning, the comedian said she regrets making a sexually charged video with comedian Aries Spears, titled “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes,” that was named in the lawsuit.
“I know people have a bunch of questions. I get it. I’m right there with you. Unfortunately, because there is an ongoing legal case, there’s very little that I can say right now,” Haddish said in the statement. “But, clearly, while this sketch was intended to be comedic, it wasn’t funny at all – and I deeply regret having agreed to act in it. I really look forward to being able to share a lot more about this situation as soon as I can.”
The accuser, listed as Jane Doe, filed the lawsuit on Aug. 29 in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of herself and her younger brother, named as John Doe.
The complaint alleges Haddish and MADtv alum Spears groomed Jane, now 22, and John, now 14.
The complaint centers on two incidents, and accuses Haddish and Spears of intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of a minor. It seeks unspecified damages.
In one incident, Jane alleges she appeared in an explicit videotaped sketch in 2013 and was taught how to simulate fellatio. In the other alleged incident, the lawsuit claims John recorded “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes” in the summer of 2014. The lawsuit alleges Haddish and Spears molested the boy while filming the video, which was eventually uploaded to the “Funny or Die” website.
The lawsuit says Haddish was friends with the children’s mother and the “Funny or Die” video featuring John was recorded when he was too young to consent.
A representative for “Funny or Die” said last week the comedy platform removed the video after being made aware that it was posted.
“‘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,” the representative said.
Last week Haddish’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, called the lawsuit “frivolous” in a statement to TMZ.
“Plaintiff’s mother … has been trying to assert these bogus claims against Ms. Haddish for several years,” Brettler said. “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.”
Spears’ attorney Debra Opri told Entertainment Weekly the comedian “isn’t going to fall for any shakedown.”