Comedians Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears have been accused in a lawsuit of grooming a 14-year-old girl and her 7-year-old brother several years ago, and allegedly convincing the children to perform sexually suggestive acts in videos that were later used as skits.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The two siblings are listed in the complaint as Jane Doe, now 22, and John Doe, now 14. The lawsuit, obtained by TMZ and The Daily Beast, was filed by Jane who is also the legal guardian of her younger brother. The complaint accuses Haddish and MADtv alum Spears of intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of a minor. It seeks general and special damages, along with “any appropriate statutory damages.”
The complaint says the siblings met Haddish after their mother befriended her on the comedy circuit. The lawsuit says Jane and John used to call Haddish “Auntie Tiff,” and that the actress referred to them as her “niece” and “nephew.”
In a statement to TMZ Thursday night, Haddish’s attorney Andrew Brettler called the lawsuit “bogus.”
“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.”
The attorney identified the mother by name, but Urban Hollywood 411 opted not to publish it to protect the identity of her still underage son.
Spears’ attorney Debra Opri told Entertainment Weekly the comedian “isn’t going to fall for any shakedown.”
The lawsuit centers on two incidents. In one, Jane alleges she appeared in an explicit videotaped sketch in 2013 and in the other alleged incident, the lawsuit says John appeared in a recorded sketch in the summer of 2014.
One video is said to show Haddish allegedly teaching the underage girl how to simulate fellatio. Jane also claims in the lawsuit that her younger brother was seven years old when Haddish took him to a home where Haddish and Spears allegedly molested the boy while filming a video titled “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes.” The skit was later uploaded to the “Funny or Die” website.
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A representative for “Funny or Die” told The Daily Beast that the comedy platform removed the video after being made aware that it had been 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.