Comedians Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears are being sued after being accused of child sexual abuse.
According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the actors allegedly assaulted a pair of siblings — named John Doe and Jane Doe in the filing — when they were 7 and 14. The Daily Beast first reported on the lawsuit Thursday.
The suit alleges that Haddish ("Girls Trip") and Spears ("MADtv") "groomed" and "molested" the plaintiffs, and that some of the incidents were recorded on video. However, Haddish's attorney, Andrew Brettler, dismissed the accusations.
"Plaintiff's mother, Trizah Morris, has been trying to assert these bogus claims against Ms. Haddish for several years," he said in a statement to The Times. "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.”
When reached by The Times on Thursday, an attorney for Spears, Debra Opri, responded: "He isn't going to fall for any shakedown."
At the center of the suit are two incidents involving each of the siblings, separately. Jane Doe alleged that in 2013, Spears and Haddish encouraged her to mimic the motions of fellatio for a skit. Jane Doe was 14 at the time. Then in 2014, a 7-year-old John Doe was allegedly stripped down to his underwear and filmed for another skit featuring both Haddish and Spears.
"I don’t trust nobody, I’m scared of adults, I refuse to be recorded or take pictures because I am scared of ... adults trying to do nasty stuff to me again," John Doe told the Daily Beast. "I spend all of my time in my room and do not go anywhere because I don’t trust anybody.”
As "a longtime family friend" of the siblings' mother, Haddish regularly visited the plaintiffs' home, the lawsuit says. The siblings also claim that Haddish took John Doe to Spears' home, where he was allegedly molested by the comedian.
"The molestation video was uploaded and published to the website 'Funny or Die' in 2014 and was not removed from the internet until May 2021," the filing says. Funny or Die told TMZ on Thursday that it had no part in the video.
"Funny Or Die found this video absolutely disgusting and would never produce such content," its statement said. "It was uploaded to the site as user-generated content and was removed in 2018 immediately after becoming aware of its existence."
Per the 31-page suit, Jane Doe's 2013 interaction with Spears and Haddish allegedly involved her copying the actions of a video in which a man and a woman ate a sandwich while "moaning and making sexual noises" in a way "that simulated the act of fellatio." Haddish allegedly showed Jane Doe "how to give fellatio, including movements, noises, moaning, and groaning."
Jane Doe also allegedly appeared in a "sexually suggestive" video.
The 2014 skit involving John Doe was supposed to be a reel intended to help him land a gig at Nickelodeon, the lawsuit says.
In the skit — titled "Through a Pedophiles Eyes," per the suit — Spears was seen "lusting over the 7-year-old" who was in his underwear while Haddish was not onscreen.
"After filming, Mr. Doe called his mother crying, saying he did not want to film anymore," the suit says.
The plaintiffs' mother reached out to Spears multiple times asking for the footage. Spears allegedly said he was not done editing the video, but claimed that the "footage was unusable" and that he deleted it. Haddish said she did not have a copy.
In 2018, the children's mother attempted a $15,000 settlement with Spears, but failed.
In the new lawsuit, John Doe and Jane Doe accuse Haddish and Spears of gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment and sexual abuse of a minor. They seek a reward, the amount of which is to be determined at trial, for "past, present, and future general damages."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.