Although Tiffany Haddish has been professionally performing for approximately 25 years, the last half decade has seen her popularity skyrocket thanks to her breakout role in the well-reviewed comedy Girls Trip, which co-starred Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah. Between the projects she’s starred in since Girls Trip (which is getting a sequel… eventually) and what she appeared in before, Haddish has built quite a lineup of memorable movies and TV shows, but now she’s in the news for a darker reason. The actress/comedian has been accused of child sexual abuse.
As reported by The Daily Beast, 22-year-old Jane Doe and her 15-year-old brother John, who have adopted pseudonyms, are claiming that there were two separate incidents where Tiffany Haddish and fellow comedian Aries Spears (whose credits include MADtv, The Proud Family and TripTank) made one of the siblings “perform sexually suggestive acts on camera while underage.” Jane, who is John’s legal guardian, is serving as the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed on Monday against Haddish and Spears both individually and on her brother’s behalf.
Tiffany Haddish is said to have met Jane and John Doe’s mother through the comedy circuit, and Haddish developed a friendly relationship with the children. However, in the summer of 2013, when Jane was 14 years old, she attended a comedy camp where Haddish was a guest speaker, and the actress allegedly told the girl that she’d found “a perfect role for her” in a commercial, although what said commercial was about wasn’t immediately revealed. Instead, Haddish and Aries Spears allegedly had Jane watch a clip of “a group of coeds were arguing over a subway sandwich,” but this led to the individuals in the clip “moaning and making sexual noises as they both ate the sandwich in a manner that simulated the act of fellatio,” according to the lawsuit.
From there, the lawsuit states that Aries Spears “mimic what she had seen on the screen, including the noises precisely like what she heard throughout the video,” and Tiffany Haddish “verbally explained” what was expected of the girl, who was “physically, emotionally, and mentally uncomfortable” while hearing these instructions. Jane’s attempts to mimic these actions came off as “super uncomfortable,” and Haddish allegedly just paid her $100 and sent the girl home, and Jane didn’t tell her mother what had happened at the time.
The second incident occurred a year later, with Tiffany Haddish approached Jane and John’s mother about John appearing in a video that was allegedly initially described as a sizzle reel for Nickelodeon, but ended up being a video called “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes” that was shared on Funny or Die and other websites. The children were separated during the shoot, which took place at Aries Spears’ home, and John’s portion of the shoot saw him spending most of it in his underwear in front of Spears, who, among other things, allegedly put baby oil on the kid’s back.
You can read through The Daily Beast’s article to learn what specifically unfolded, but the whole affair ended with John in tears and his mother wondering what had happened. The mother later demanded to see the footage that was shot, but according to the lawsuit, she was told that it was deleted because John had been “uncooperative.”
Cut to today, Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears are both accused in this lawsuit of “intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of a minor,” while Haddish is additionally accused of “negligent supervision/failure to warn, breach of fiduciary duty, and constructive fraud.” The lawsuit, which is seeking general and special damages, as well as “any appropriate statutory damages,” also says that although Jane and John’s mother negotiated a settlement in 2019, it allegedly does not bind Haddish nor the children. Andrew Brettler, Haddish’s attorney, shared the following statement:
Clearly this is a serious matter, and CinemaBlend will provide more updates on how this legal saga unfolds. As far as Tiffany Haddish’s professional endeavors go, she most recently appeared in Easter Sunday, is playing Olympic athlete Florence Griffith Joyner and is part of the Haunted Mansion reboot’s cast, with that Disney flick slated in the 2023 movies schedule for March 10.
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