Jane Doe Plans to Add Jimmy Fallon, Lorne Michaels as Defendants in Horatio Sanz Lawsuit
A proposed amended complaint, which her legal team is seeking approval to file next year, also names Tracy Morgan.Photos courtesy of Getty Images Comedy Features Saturday Night Live
Today Jane Doe asked the New York State Supreme Court for leave to file an amended version of her lawsuit against Horatio Sanz next year, one that would add three new defendants: Tracy Morgan, Jimmy Fallon, and Lorne Michaels. If the court grants her motion, she will file the new complaint on March 1, 2023. That date marks the opening of a “lookback window” under New York City’s Gender-Motivated Violence Act, which allows the survivors of gender-based violence to sue not only their alleged abusers but also anyone who enabled their abuse. A recent amendment to that law creates a two-year period in which survivors can file claims past the statute of limitation.
Jane Doe’s proposed amended complaint, available here, will maintain the claims against Sanz and NBC filed last year under the New York Child Victims Act. The new cause of action under the GMVA will allege that Sanz committed crimes of gender-motivated violence against her and that NBC, Fallon, Michaels, and Morgan enabled his crimes.
The proposed amended complaint paints a vastly more detailed portrait of the abuses Jane Doe suffered as a teenage Saturday Night Live fan than previous filings. It describes the email she received from Sanz and Jimmy Fallon when she was 15 years old and running an SNL fan page. It describes Lorne Michaels telling her that he read this fan page whenever he wanted to know where Fallon was. It describes Sanz flirting with her—kissing her cheek, resting his hand on her back—when they first met after a taping in 2000, when she was still only 15. It describes Sanz fantasizing over IM in 2006 that “the two of them would have sex while he sucked the blood out of little cuts he had made in her skin.” It describes the sexist culture that has defined SNL for decades: one where stars and executives laughed off Chris Farley’s propensity for harassing women; where Michaels surrounds himself with blonde assistants, one of whom (“18 years his junior”) would become his third wife; where female employees have long felt expendable; where multiple cast members and producers, including Michaels himself, have abused their power with impunity; and where it was well-known that underage girls attended after-parties and after-after-parties. As an NBC security guard allegedly told Jane Doe after he found her and her teenage friends roaming 30 Rock unsupervised, “You know what NBC stands for? Nobody cares.”
The proposed amended complaint also includes ample visual documentation absent in the original. There are photos of Jane Doe’s diary entries contemporaneously recording her interactions with Sanz. There are photographs she took both of and with Sanz, including one in a limo to an after-party and one at the after-party itself. There are photographs of autographs she received from Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey, who both allegedly knew of her from her fan site. When Doe introduced herself to Dratch after a taping in 2001, according to the proposed amended complaint, Dratch responded: “Oh my god, are you THE Jane?”
And then there are the alleged details, also revealed in The Daily Beast’s February interview with Doe, about who exactly witnessed her assault by Sanz at the May 11, 2002 after-after-party hosted by Tracy Morgan:
130. At the party, Sanz and Jane were sitting on a couch in the middle of the room, facing the entrance and kissing. 17-year-old Jane was very drunk as they made out, and Sanz began rubbing Jane’s vagina over her clothing.
131. In a moment that felt like her worst nightmare, Jane glanced up to see that the majority of the SNL cast was gawking at her. Worse, two of her lifelong idols, Fey and Dratch, were not only staring directly at her, watching her being groped, but giggling excitedly with their hands over their mouths.
132. Suddenly, Sanz grabbed Jane’s breasts and lifted them out of her shirt from behind, exposing them to all of the party attendees, but for his hands.
133. When Fey and Dratch saw Jane looking at them, they immediately hid behind others, though they continued to giggle.
134. Most of the SNL cast was present. Jane personally witnessed that many other cast members saw the assault, including Seth Meyers, Maya Rudolph, and Ana Gasteyer. Gasteyer stood directly in front of Jane and Sanz, staring at them, with her mouth agape in utter horror; she looked like she was shaking with fright. Meyers and Rudolph stood next to Gasteyer; Rudolph looked disgusted. Will Ferrell stood on the side of the entranceway, toward the back, glancing at Jane and Sanz as he spoke to someone, looking unhappy
135. Jane protested as best she could, asking Sanz repeatedly to stop, but he did not.
Crucially, as the proposed amended complaint notes, Sanz has already confessed. In 2019 he texted Doe that he “felt terrible” about what he did, mentioning “the Tracy party” specifically. “It was a fucking big mistake. I’m very sorry. If you want to metoo me you have every right,” he said.
“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,” said Doe’s attorney, Susan Crumiller, in a statement about today’s filing. “Instead, they destroyed her life. Jane has spent the past two decades struggling with the repercussions of what they did to her; now it’s their turn. We look forward to holding NBC, Sanz, and everyone else who enabled this disgusting behavior accountable when the GMVA lookback window opens in March.”
Sanz denied Jane Doe’s allegations through his attorney when she filed her lawsuit last year. Michaels, Fallon, and Morgan have yet to acknowledge the case.
Seth Simons is the writer of Humorism, a newsletter about labor, inequality, and extremism in the comedy industry. He’s on Twitter @sasimons. Subscribe to Humorism to get articles like this in your inbox.