Tiffany Haddish’s lawyer called the accusations “bogus claims” and said the actress “would not be shaken down”
Last Tuesday, a 22-year-old woman identified as Jane Doe sued Haddish, 42, and comedian Aries Spears, 47, in California’s Superior Court for Los Angeles County on behalf of herself and a minor identified as John Doe, her younger brother. In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Jane alleged that Haddish “groomed” the plaintiffs, leaving them “traumatized for life.”
The plaintiff claimed that Haddish was a “longtime family friend” of her mother and that in 2013, when Jane Doe was 14, Haddish took her to the taping of a “sexually suggestive Subways commercial” that Haddish allegedly said would help Jane Doe get on television and would be included in the teenager’s film reel. During the taping, Haddish allegedly instructed Jane Doe on how to perform inappropriate sex acts after watching a man and woman in a video.
In a statement on Instagram Monday morning, Haddish wrote, “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.”
“But,” she continued, “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.”
Per the filing, plaintiff John Doe was allegedly molested by Spears in 2014 after Haddish told him he would be taping a reel for Nickelodeon at Spears’ home. While there, Haddish allegedly told Jane Doe that she needed John Doe alone and took him to a room where Spears began “molesting” the then-7-year-old on film. The plaintiffs’ court documents claim Haddish witnessed the alleged incident “and aided, abetted and watched Spears sexually molest a child.”https://6f34e7c2ca5e8cdf45452a13ca6713ae.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.
John Doe said in a statement that Spears and Haddish gave him a drink that made him sleepy and “happy face candy.” Haddish also allegedly paid the siblings $100, he said.
“The Plaintiffs were both minors and were incapable of consenting to participate in sexually graphic videos distributed and published via ‘Funny or Die’s’ platform,” the lawsuit said, adding: “There was no parent or guardian present.”
Haddish and Spears are being sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment and sexual abuse of a minor. Haddish is also sued for negligence supervision/failure to warn, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Funny or Die said, “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.”
Haddish’s lawyer said in a statement about the lawsuit that the plaintiff’s mother “has been trying to assert these bogus claims against Ms. Haddish for several years. 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.”
Added the attorney: “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.”
Spears’ lawyer also said in a statement that he “isn’t going to fall for any shakedown.”
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.