Following an August 2021 lawsuit filed against “Saturday Night Live” alum Horatio Sanz, his accuser is now listing Jimmy Fallon, Lorne Michaels, and Tracy Morgan as defendants, claiming the trio enabled Sanz’s alleged misconduct. (Variety reported on the updated filing.)
The woman, identified as Jane Doe in the legal proceedings, accused Sanz of grooming her when she was 17 years old in May 2002. Doe stated that Sanz kissed and groped her while attempting to digitally penetrate her at a party. Per the filing, Doe and her friends regularly attended “SNL” after parties from 2000 to 2002, between the ages of 15 and 17 years old after Doe joined the online “SNL” superfan community as a Fallon fanatic. The suit alleged Sanz and Fallon first emailed to thank her for creating a fan page for Fallon, and she was later invited to after-parties for the sketch comedy series.
Doe claimed Sanz and Fallon would drink with her at these parties when Fallon knew she was a junior in high school. “SNL” and NBCUniversal mega-producer Michaels allegedly advised her to pursue a writing career at one after-party, per the claim. Former “SNL” cast member Morgan allegedly also rented out the space for an after-after party in May 2002 during which Sanz groped Doe against her will.
Sanz’s attorney Andrew Brettler has denied the allegations, claiming Doe sought a $7.5 million payout before filing the suit in August 2021. “This individual’s claims about Horatio Sanz are categorically false,” Brettler stated. “However often she repeats her ludicrous allegations or tries to rope in other high-profile names to generate media attention, they will always be false. Before filing this lawsuit anonymously, she demanded $7.5 million in exchange for her silence. We, of course, refused and will vigorously contest these totally meritless claims.”
The initial lawsuit, which named Sanz and NBCUniversal as defendants, was filed under New York State law, which opened a two-year “lookback window” for victims of child sex abuse to bring claims that otherwise would have been barred by the statute of limitations.
Attorney Jeffrey P. Fitz filed the lawsuit, which alleged an additional 18 NBCU employees either knew or should have known of Sanz’s grooming and sexual misconduct, including Fallon, Morgan and Michaels, plus multiple other “SNL” cast members.
In addition to Sanz, Jane alleged in the lawsuit that an NBC page forcefully kissed her when she was 16 without her consent in 2002. Sanz was not the only “SNL” staffer “who openly preyed upon women and young girls,” the filing stated. Sanz stayed in contact with Doe through 2006.
NBCUniversal filed a motion to dismiss the complaint in April 2022, stating that the network was not responsible for Sanz’s conduct off-set. “Employers owe no general duty to protect third-persons from the possibility of sexual abuse by their employees,” attorneys for the network stated.
The complaint was amended by Doe’s new attorney Susan Crumiller, who is seeking a hearing on September 8 to formally file the amended version naming Fallon, Michaels, and Morgan. Yet NBC maintained the lawsuit should be dismissed.
“Regardless of Jane Doe’s changing narratives, NBC intends to renew its motion to dismiss,” a network spokesperson stated.
Doe told The Daily Beast, “I see the lack of accountability in my own case, and it just viscerally frightens me because I have a thorough admission of guilt, I have mountains of evidence, and I’ve come forward. And many people with many, many millions of dollars and huge platforms, who saw this happen, have had no interest so far in coming forward.”