LOS ANGELES — A woman who accused comedians Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears of coercing her and a brother into recording sexually explicit skits when they were children filed a request Tuesday to dismiss the claim.
The first page of the filing, obtained by NBC News, asked the U.S. District Court for Central California to dismiss her lawsuit with prejudice, which means it could not be filed again. No reason was given on the first page for the move to withdraw.
The woman, identified in the original claim as Jane Doe, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement to TMZ, she said Tuesday that “we are glad that we can all put this behind us.”
“My family and I have known Tiffany Haddish for many years — and we now know that she would never harm me or my brother or help anyone else do anything that could harm us,” the statement said.
Attorneys for Haddish did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Representatives for Spears also did not respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Aug. 30 and moved to federal court a week and a half later, alleges Haddish and Spears separately coerced the siblings when they were children to take part in sexually explicit skits. It claims their participation “stole the youth of a 7-year-old child and a 14-year-old child.”
Jane Doe, 22, filed the suit on behalf of herself and her younger brother, who is still a juvenile.
Six days after the lawsuit was filed, Haddish posted a message on Instagram expressing regret for her role in one of the comedy pieces.
“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 said in the Sept. 5 post.
The siblings’ mother had a close relationship with Haddish, the star of “Girls Trip” and several other films, when they were both children, according to the lawsuit.
In 2013, Haddish appeared as a guest speaker at a summer camp Jane Doe attended when she was 14, the suit said. It was then that Haddish said she had the “perfect role” for the teenager, the claim alleged.
The lawsuit alleged that the skit involved Haddish’s teaching Jane Doe how to mimic fellatio on a sub sandwich.
The lawsuit also alleged that a year later, her brother appeared in a skit titled “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes,” about a boy being left with a man, played by “Mad TV” veteran Spears, who “leers at the child lustfully” and gets into a bathtub with him.
The 7-year-old boy was stripped “down to his underwear” in most of the scenes, according to the filing.
Afterward, he called his mother to say he did not want to participate anymore, the suit said.
His mother repeatedly asked Spears and Haddish about “what was filmed that made her son cry,” the suit alleged. Haddish said she would get back to the mother about providing the unedited video but later said it was unusable and had been deleted, the lawsuit alleged.
It was not until roughly four years later, in June 2018, that the mother learned about the piece’s content when it was published on the Funny Or Die website, the filing said.
She proclaimed she would never have let her son participate in “a pedophile child pornography skit,” the lawsuit said.
Funny Or Die, an independent comedy studio, said that the video had been uploaded as user-generated content and that it was removed immediately when the studio learned about it. A spokesperson said in a statement this month that the platform found the video “absolutely disgusting.”
The suit sought unspecified damages from Haddish, 42, and Spears, 47, who worked on the 2019 film “The Kitchen” together.
The lawsuit alleged that, as a result of the siblings’ participation in the comedy pieces, they developed social disorders.
Attorneys for the celebrities have characterized the lawsuit as a shakedown in past statements.
Andrew Brettler, an attorney for Haddish, said Jane Doe’s mother had “been trying to assert these bogus claims against Ms. Haddish for several years.” He said Haddish “would not be shaken down.” Similarly, Debra Opri, an attorney for Spears, said he “isn’t going to fall for any shakedown.”
Jane Doe sent a letter this month asking Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s office to “arrest and prosecute” Haddish and Spears.
Source: CNBC News