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Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears are accused of child abuse in a lawsuit

Comedians Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears are accused of child sexual abuse in a lawsuit.
JC Olivera/Getty Images; John Lamparski/Getty Images
Comedians Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears are accused of child sexual abuse in a lawsuit.

A civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by a 22-year-old woman on behalf of herself and her younger brother accuses renowned actor, comedian and author Tiffany Haddish and fellow comedian Aries Spears of abusing the plaintiffs sexually when they were both minors.

Filed using the pseudonyms "Jane Doe" and "John Doe" (the brother, born in 2007, is still a minor) the lawsuit alleges Haddish and Spears groomed the young plaintiffs and coerced them into "filming sexually explicit child pornography skits."

The plaintiffs allege they were introduced to Haddish and Spears through their mother. The lawsuit describes Haddish as a "longtime family friend."

The lawsuit contends, "Haddish and Spears took advantage and stole the youth of a 7-year-old child and a 14-year-old child."

The lawsuit highlights two separate incidents of alleged sexual abuse of minors, alleging that both took place in Los Angeles. Jane Doe accuses the entertainers of pressuring her to mimic fellatio for a video in 2013. The lawsuit also contends John Doe was coerced to appear in a sexually suggestive video in his underwear and that the 2014 film featured both Haddish and Spears.

The video, "Through a Pedophile's Eyes," found its way onto the comedy video website Funny Or Die and elsewhere on the web.

"Funny Or Die found this video absolutely disgusting and would never produce such content," a spokesperson for company said in a statement shared with NPR. "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."

In a statement shared with NPR via email, Andrew Brettler, Haddish's attorney, discarded the plaintiffs' claims against his client as "bogus." Brettler said the plaintiffs' mother has been trying to discredit Haddish with these accusations 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. Now, [she] 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, Debra Opri, responded to NPR's request for comment with one line regarding her client's response to the allegations: "He isn't going to fall for any shakedown."

In an email sent to NPR from "Jane Doe," the plaintiff noted Haddish's attorney Brettler had "built his career" on representing celebrities involved in sexual abuse cases. "We are not surprised that Mr. Brettler would attempt to divert the attention away from the legitimate claims filed by my brother and me, to shift the blame and attention to our mother who is not a party to this lawsuit."

Jane Doe said in addition to the civil lawsuit filed this week, she and her brother are calling for the Los Angeles Police Department to criminally charge the entertainers. "It is our hope that the LAPD will finally act and immediately arrest both Tiffany Haddish and Aries Spears."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Chloe Veltman
Chloe Veltman is a correspondent on NPR's Culture Desk.