“I know people have a bunch of questions,” Haddish said in a statement posted to social media on Monday morning. “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. 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. I really look forward to being able to share a lot more about this situation as soon as I can.”
The video, titled “Through a Pedophile’s Eyes,” was posted to (and subsequently removed from) the user-generated content section of FunnyOrDie.com in 2018. The pending lawsuit, first reported by The Daily Beast, was filed by an anonymous Jane Doe earlier this month on behalf of herself and her younger brother (John Doe, for the purposes of the suit). It accuses Spears and Haddish of intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of a minor.
“As an adult, I have the power to protect my little brother now and have the power to do something about what happened to him,” the plaintiff said via the Daily Beast. “And that’s what my goal is to get done. Just to show my little brother that, ‘Hey, I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to protect you and be there for you then. But this is how I’m showing up for you now.’”
In a statement via email, Haddish’s legal representation (who chose to reveal the name of Jane Doe’s mother, which IndieWire will not publish) said: “Plaintiff’s mother…has been trying to assert these bogus claims against Ms. Haddish 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, [the mother] has her adult daughter representing herself in this lawsuit. The two of them will together face the consequences of pursuing this frivolous action.”
Representation for Aries Spears did not respond to IndieWire’s initial request for comment, but the comedian has also denied the accusations.