In past interviews and appearances, actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish the described the brutal realities of growing up in foster care. Earlier this year for Variety’s Changemakers Summit, she shared a glimpse of her former reality. “When I was in foster care, I mean, I thought I was going to die there,” Haddish stated. “I didn’t think I would make it to 18.”
She went into even more grim detail about suffering sexual abuse at 13 years of age by her foster father in her 2017 memoir The Last Black Unicorn. She explained that when she was 13, the live-in father of one of her foster mothers offered to suck on her breasts to help them grow after he caught her stuffing toilet paper in her training bra.
Haddish said she started letting the man do it every day for 15 minutes before she left for school. Haddish said years later, when she was 19, she didn’t understand that she was a victim of child molestation until she explained the abuse to a friend. In the book, she claimed:
“In my mind, ‘molested’ meant somebody hurt you in some kind of way. Like, they took something from you that you didn’t want to give. And what the old man did never hurt. It didn’t necessarily feel good, either, it was just whatever. And he never tried nothing else with me, not even once. It was just like—in my mind—he was helping me out.”
Haddish being a survivor of sexual abuse makes the allegations she faces even more inexplicable. Last week, The Daily Beast released an explosive report in which a Jane Doe is suing Haddish and comedian Aries Spears on behalf of a minor and her sibling. Through a Pedophile’s Eyes, which was recorded when Doe’s sibling was just 7 years old, was posted to user-generated platforms like Funny or Die before being taken down.
A description of the video from The Daily Beast:
John spends most of the video clad only in his underwear as Spears’ character leers at him through two holes cut into a newspaper he pretends to read. During the sketch, the camera zooms in suggestively on the 7-year-old’s buttocks and crotch while he plays. Spears sprays baby oil onto the child’s back and massages it into his shoulders in one scene, and at another point the child plays with a train in a manner that suggests phallic masturbation. In another sequence, Spears smokes a cigarette while observing the child nude in a bathtub and pours water on his feet. By the time the video ends, the child is peering at his babysitter through a newspaper and rubbing baby oil on his shirtless shoulder. The final line of on-screen text reads: “WATCH WHO YOU LEAVE YOUR KIDS WITH!”
First, we need to say Haddish has not been charged or convicted of any crime. The civil lawsuit accuses the pair of a multitude of allegations including gross negligence, sexual battery and sexual abuse of a minor. In addition, Haddish is being accused of negligent supervision/failure to warn, breach of fiduciary duty, and constructive fraud.
Haddish says she regrets acting in the skit and released a statement on Labor Day on Instagram saying that she “deeply regret[s] having agreed to act in it.” It is jarring to think that someone who grew up as a foster care and was also a victim of child abuse would be anywhere near child abuse allegations.
Hopefully, the family affected by this incident will receive some sort of justice.