Tiffany Haddish says she deeply regrets acting in an old sketch with Aries Spears that has sparked a wave of criticism following a lawsuit from an anonymous woman who accused the comedians of exploiting her and her brother in sexually charged video skits when they were children.
“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,” Haddish posted in a statement on Instagram. “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.”
Haddish’s comments come a week after she and fellow comic Aries Spiers were accused of coercing two young children, ages 7 and 14, to perform inappropriate and sexually charged on-camera acts.
The lawsuit, filed in late August by Jane Doe, now 22, and on behalf of her younger brother John Doe, now 14, alleges two instances in which she and her brother were encouraged to perform sexually suggestive acts on-camera in paid videos, which were filmed in 2013.
The Daily Beast reported that Haddish and the children’s mother became close friends via the comedy circuit, facilitating a situation where Jane spent time with Haddish, and Spears was on hand to produce the videos.
The suit claims that in one incident, Haddish encouraged Jane to watch a video of a group of young women eating sandwiches in a sexually suggestive manner and then asked her to mimic the video, noting that Haddish stepped in to demonstrate “how to give fellatio.” Jane, then 14, was paid $100 for the shoot.
In another incident, which happened a year later, listed in the suit, Haddish asked the children’s mother to film her son, then 7, in a sizzle reel for Nickelodeon. Instead, the child was filmed for a video titled, “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes” that was intended for the user-generated section of “Funny or Die!”
Following the video, the lawsuit notes that the boy came downstairs “red in the face, crying his eyes out, just bawling out in tears,” prompting immediate concern from their mother.
Their mother asked Haddish what happened, and was told “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t think acting is for him,’ … And I’m like … What the F you mean, acting isn’t for him? My son is crying. Like, what is going on?
The civil lawsuit lists eight causes for the case, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment and sexual abuse of a minor, and seeks general and special damages and statutory damages.
“I really look forward to being able to share a lot more about this situation as soon as I can,” Haddish concluded.