Tiffany Haddish, Aries Spears sued by family over “Through A Pedophile’s Eyes” video

The pair are being accused of "intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of a minor"

Tiffany Haddish, Aries Spears sued by family over “Through A Pedophile’s Eyes” video
Left: Tiffany Haddish (Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images), Right: Aries Spears (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

[Note: This article contains descriptions of sexually suggestive material involving a minor.]

Comedians Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears are the subject of a new lawsuit this week, The Daily Beast reports. The two comics have been accused by “Jane Doe” and “John Doe,” two siblings who are now 22 and 14, respectively, of asking them to perform sexually suggestive acts for a pair of comedy sketches filmed 8 and 7 years ago, including one titled “Through A Pedophile’s Eyes.” The lawsuit was filed pro se (i.e., without legal counsel) on Monday, and accuses Haddish and Spears 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.”

In the lawsuit, Jane Doe—now the legal guardian of her younger brother—describes both of the sketches, which the siblings were reportedly recruited for due to a friendship between their mother and Haddish. In her own incident, Jane Doe describes (both in the suit, and in an interview with The Daily Beast), being brought to a recording booth and shown a video of two college students suggestively eating a subway sandwich, and was then asked to mimic the sounds and motions. Here’s the DB report, describing the suit:

“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 describes Spears allegedly looking on while a ‘physically, emotionally, and mentally uncomfortable’ Jane received this instruction.

Jane says it was eventually made clear to her that she wasn’t giving the desired performance; she was paid $100 and declined, at the time, to describe the incident to her mother.

A year later, Haddish allegedly approached the family again, claiming to want to film a “Nickelodeon sizzle reel” for John. Instead, he ended up filming “Through A Pedophile’s Eyes” with Haddish and Spears, a video—originally posted to Funny Or Die’s user-submitted section, and since deleted from both there, and Spears’ YouTube account—in which the former MadTV actor plays a pedophile leering at the then-7-year-old boy, who reportedly spends most of the video in his underwear. Although Jane says she was present at Spears’ house on the day of the shoot, she said Haddish ordered her to stay downstairs while the sketch was being filmed upstairs.

Here’s a description of the video from Daily Beast, which reviewed a recording of the video as part of its reporting:

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.

The lawsuit states that, after filming was done, “Mr. Doe called his mother crying, saying he did not want to film anymore.” Jane and John’s mother says she asked Spears to show her the footage that had been shot, but “Spears allegedly kept repeating that it had not yet been edited. Eventually, the lawsuit states that Spears claimed John had been so uncooperative that his footage had been deemed unusable and subsequently deleted.” (It’s not clear, from what we have access to, whether John’s footage was used in the eventually posted/now-deleted video, or whether another young actor ended up filming the scenes.) Meanwhile, Haddish allegedly told the mother “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t think acting is for him.’”

Both Jane and John have reportedly been in therapy since the incidents; the legal complaint includes a statement from John that the “Pedophile” sketch “fucked me up bad,” stating he now has a difficulty trusting adults, and a fear of being recorded.

The pair’s mother negotiated a settlement with Spears in 2019 over the video, but that agreement didn’t directly cover either Haddish—who reportedly declined to participate—or the siblings themselves, who are now pursuing their own legal approach. The lawsuit seeks “general and special damages, as well as ‘any appropriate statutory damages.’”

Spears reportedly hasn’t responded to requests for comments, but a lawyer for Haddish issued a statement this evening, asserting 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.’”

If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual abuse, contact the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

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