“Girls Trip” star and stand-up comic Tiffany Haddish faces a defamation lawsuit filed by her former husband and mother-in-law in Travis County over claims of abuse Haddish made in her best-selling memoir, “The Last Black Unicorn.”
William Stewart Sr. and his mother, Elnora Daugherty, name Haddish, publishing company Simon and Schuster Inc., and the book’s ghostwriter, Tucker Tibor Max, who lives in Austin, as defendants. According to the suit, Stewart filed the complaint in Travis County partly because Max lives in Austin and Haddish has performed here. Haddish has recounted episodes of abuse in her stand-up act.
The suit, filed Tuesday, claims that a chapter in Haddish’s book “maliciously defames and slanders the reputation of Mr. Stewart and Ms. Daugherty.”
Haddish writes that Stewart abused Haddish during their marriage and that Daugherty abused Stewart when he was a child. Stewart and Daugherty said in the lawsuit that these were “vicious defamatory assertions.”
Haddish, who headlined at the Moontower Comedy Festival in April and won raves from critics and fans alike for her performance in the movie “Girls Trip,” published “The Last Black Unicorn” a few months ago.
In a chapter called “The Ex-Husband,” Haddish says her ex-husband — whom she does not name — choked her abusively throughout their marriage, illegally monitored her and had a friend stalk her.
Haddish also accuses her ex-husband’s mother — whom she also does not name — of abusing him when he was a child by intentionally burning him with a hot comb and locking him away, the suit says. The book claims that, when they were married, Haddish reached out to Daugherty for help and she rejected Haddish’s concerns.
In the suit, Stewart and Daugherty deny these allegations.
“The defendants’ statements and characterizations of Mr. Stewart and Ms. Daugherty were false, reckless, malicious and defamatory,” the lawsuit states.
Haddish prefaces “The Ex-Husband” chapter by warning readers that this particular chapter won’t make them laugh.
“It’s the hard truth about my life. … I hope some young girls can learn from my mistakes. … As bad as this was, I believe it’s made me better and helped me get where I am,” the suit says, quoting “The Last Black Unicorn.”