Tiffany Haddish is speaking out after a 2014 sketch, “Through A Pedophile’s Eyes,” became the subject of a lawsuit against her and fellow comedian Aries Spears. The Jane and John Doe plaintiffs accused the comedians of sexually abusing a minor while filming the sketch.
“I know people have a bunch of questions. I get it. I’m right there with you,” Haddish begins in an Instagram statement. “Unfortunately, because there is an ongoing legal case, there’s very little that I can say right now. 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.”
As previously covered by The A.V. Club, the lawsuit focuses on two different sketches filmed seven and eight years ago. Jane Doe presently represents herself in the case, and the suit accuses the pair of “intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of a minor.” It also alleges that Haddish is guilty of “negligent supervision/failure to warn, breach of fiduciary duty, and constructive fraud.”
The alleged content of the sketches, which are not presently available on the internet, is upsetting. According to the Daily Beast, John and Jane became involved in the project after their mother met and bonded with Haddish about their shared experiences with divorce. When Haddish offered the then-14-year-old Jane a role in a “commercial,” she was allegedly instructed to mimic fellatio on a subway sandwich, and Haddish “showed Plaintiff Jane Doe how to give fellatio, including movements, noises, moaning, and groaning.”
A year later, Haddish reportedly approached the family once more about a second sketch for Funny or Die, centered on John, then age 7. This sketch, titled “Through A Pedophile’s Eyes,” featured Spears, in character, ogling the boy character, who spends most of the video in his underwear. Per the Daily Beast, “In another sequence, Spears smokes a cigarette while observing the child nude in a bathtub and pours water on his feet.” According to the suit, after filming, “Mr. Doe called his mother crying, saying he did not want to film anymore.”
As of this writing, Spears has not publicly commented on the accusations.
If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual abuse, contact the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.