Three Saturday Night Live titans could be named as enablers in a sexual assault lawsuit against former cast member Horatio Sanz. An anonymous woman, referred to as Jane Doe, asked the court to add Jimmy Fallon, Lorne Michaels, and Tracy Morgan as defendants in a suit she first filed in August 2021, Variety reported. NBCUniversal was also named as a defendant in the original suit.
The lawsuit claimed that Sanz sexually assaulted the underage SNL fan and groomed her into an online sexual relationship between 2000 and 2002. She also alleged that Fallon would drink with her and Sanz at the shows’ afterparties, and was aware that she and her friends were only juniors in high school at the time. According to the complaint, Michaels offered her writing and career advice at an afterparty, and Morgan rented out the afterparty space where Sanz allegedly groped her against her will. The plaintiff also claimed that 18 NBCU employees knew of Sanz’s behavior.
NBCU’s lawyers maintained that “employers owe no general duty to protect third-persons from the possibility of sexual abuse by their employees.” In April, the company filed a motion to dismiss the original suit. But in June, Doe hired a new lawyer, Susan Crumiller, who then helped Doe amend the original suit to add Fallon, Michaels, and Morgan as defendants, therefore nullifying NBCU’s dismissal motion.
“Sanz and his enablers lured Jane into their celebrity world and made her feel like a cool kid for drinking and partying with a bunch of famous grown-ups,” Crumiller told Deadline. “Instead, they destroyed her life. Jane has spent the past two decades struggling with the repercussions of what they did to her.”
Andrew Brettler, an attorney for Sanz, told Complex in a statement after Doe’s initial suit that her claims were “categorically false.”
Doe was able to file the original suit through the New York Child Victims Act “lookback window,” which permits sexual assault survivors to take legal action concerning past crimes that would otherwise be off the table due to statute of limitations laws. The next lookback window will open in March 2023, and it will allow claims to be filed against institutions for negligence regarding their employee’s acts and behavior.
That, of course, contests NBCU’s comment that its employee’s behavior outside of work is not its problem, despite the interactions Doe described with Sanz, Fallon, Michaels, and Morgan happening at events closely associated with SNL.
Crumiller asked for a hearing on September 8 for permission to amend the suit and name the three men as defendants.
Jezebel reached out to NBCU for comment and will update with its response if we hear back. A spokesperson did tell Variety that “regardless of Jane Doe’s changing narratives, NBC intends to renew its motion to dismiss.”