- New details have emerged about allegations made last year that Horatio Sanz groomed and assaulted a teenage fan in the early 2000s.
- The civil suit, filed Tuesday with the NY Supreme Court, alleges Sanz publicly abused the 17-year-old at an “SNL” cast party.
- Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan, and “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels are accused of knowing about and enabling the abuse.
New details have emerged of alleged sexual abuse of a teenager by former “Saturday Night Live” star Horatio Sanz in a complaint filed Tuesday with the New York Supreme Court.
In addition to allegations that Sanz groomed and later assaulted the minor, the civil suit viewed by Insider also alleges that other “SNL” cast and crew members witnessed and enabled the abuse but did nothing to stop it.
Though the abuse occurred more than 20 years ago and has since passed the statute of limitations — which would ordinarily mean no legal action could be taken — the filing was made possible due to an amendment to New York City’s Gender Motivated Violence Act (GMVA). The law allows victims of gender-based violence to file civil suits against their abusers and the recent amendment creates a two-year “lookback window” for expired civil claims, similar to New York’s Child Victims Act.
The claims made in Doe’s suit will be revived when the lookback window opens on March 1, 2023.
The suit, an amendment to an earlier complaint filed last year, alleges that then-15-year-old Jane Doe used an online message board and fan site she created to gain the attention of the “SNL” cast, as well as creator Lorne Michaels, in the early 2000s.
The teenager — at the time a superfan of the comedy variety show who had aspirations of joining its cast — attended tapings of “SNL” several times with friends and family before being introduced to Jimmy Fallon and Sanz, who were stars of the show at the time.
Fallon and Sanz repeatedly commented on Doe’s fansite and recognized her at tapings, the filing said, and the pair began inviting her to cast parties held at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Over the course of several years, according to the filing, Sanz allegedly flattered Doe with compliments via online messages, gave her long-stemmed red roses as gifts, and supplied her with alcohol. Through the course of the inappropriate courtship, the filing alleges Fallon, Morgan, and Michaels were aware both that she was underage and of Sanz’s behavior toward her.
At one party, the suit alleges, Doe was visibly drunk and “cast member Horatio Sanz groped Jane’s breasts and buttocks and rubbed her vagina, in full view of party onlookers, continuing the assault even as she implored him to stop.”
After the public assault, according to the suit, Jane “not only felt sexually humiliated and degraded, but her lifelong career aspirations of working at ‘SNL’ ground to a halt – as the entire ‘SNL’ cast watched and her idols, Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch, laughed at her.”
Instead of removing the minor from the party where drugs and alcohol were being served, the suit alleges NBC staff approached Sanz and asked “Are you fucking serious?” as their only intervention. Sanz later left the party with Doe and, in a taxi ride to Penn Station, penetrated her with his fingers and clumsily attempted to remove her clothes without her consent.
Doe is alleged to have texted a friend that she was relieved she had been wearing pantyhose underneath her pants that night — which she had done to appear thinner — because she felt Sanz “would have raped her” had he been able to undress her.
“NBC, [Lorne] Michaels, [Jimmy] Fallon, and [Tracy] Morgan enabled Sanz’s crimes of sexual assault and battery,” the filing read.
Representatives for Michaels, Fallon, Morgan, Fey, and Dratch did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
An NBC spokesperson told Insider: “Regardless of Jane Doe’s changing narratives, NBC intends to renew its motion to dismiss,” but did not respond to questions about what “changing narratives” was referring to.
Sanz “groomed, abused, and molested Jane on numerous occasions,” the filing said, including instructing her on how to masturbate, discussing her performing oral sex on men, and playing out fantasy situations, including that “the two of them would have sex while he sucked the blood out of little cuts he had made in her skin.”
In a 2019 text message detailed in the filing, Sanz acknowledged Doe was 16 at the time of their first sexual encounter and apologized for his behavior.
“I wasn’t really thinking,” the filing said Sanz wrote to Doe. “But I really didn’t do that with others. It was a fucking big mistake. I’m very sorry. If you want to metoo me you have every right. Just believe me I’m not like that anymore.”
The accusation of sexual violence is not the only one levied against Sanz this year. Earlier this year, a former intern told Insider Sanz tried to grope her breasts in the early 2000s during a party attended by staffers.
Other former staff members have alleged the environment on the “SNL” set had a pervasive environment of sexual harassment — including one staffer who alleged a producer told her to put Listerine strips in her vagina and another who alleged a colleague showed her nude photos of himself without her consent.
“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,” Susan Crumiller, attorney for Jane Doe, said in a statement released with the lawsuit 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.”
Representatives for Sanz did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment, but he has denied the accusations since they were first publicized. In a statement released through his attorney, Sanz told TMZ last year that the woman’s claims were “categorically false” and “ludicrous.”