Please Read This Daily Beast Story about the Horatio Sanz Lawsuit

The publication spoke to a second woman who alleges Sanz may have tried to groom her.

Please Read This Daily Beast Story about the Horatio Sanz Lawsuit

The Daily Beast has an interview out with Jane Doe of Jane Doe vs. NBCUniversal. I encourage you to read and share it if you can. I'll post a few excerpts below, but one thing I want to highlight off the top: the Daily Beast spoke with a second woman, "Melissa," who says Sanz may have been trying to groom her when she was a teenager. She says he reached out to her online when she was 15 and running a fan site dedicated to him. As they started chatting over AIM, he asked her if she had a boyfriend; asked her to describe her appearance; mentioned Jane Doe (by name) coming to an SNL afterparty with him, where he stayed until 7am "[m]aking sure she behaved herself"; and apologized for not putting Melissa's initial on his shirt during a show—specifically, SNL's first show back after 9/11. “You haven’t sent me a picture yet,” he tells her in (alleged) printouts of their chats. "You've been bad."

Again, I encourage you to read and share this if you can. This whole story deserves much more attention than it has received. I cannot overstate how many people in show business it touches. The cast at the time included Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, and Seth Meyers. The writing staff included Robert Carlock, Jim Downey, Steve Higgins, and Michael Schur. Jimmy Fallon, now one of the most famous people in the world, allegedly conversed with Jane Doe in the presence of other NBC staff and introduced her to Lorne Michaels. At one party, she allegedly drank beer while chatting with Mike Shoemaker, who now produces Late Night with Seth Meyers. Horatio Sanz allegedly digitally penetrated her in full view of other people at an afterparty hosted by Tracy Morgan, whose afterparties coincidentally became notorious at SNL. Sanz, a founding member of UCB, would continue performing at that theater for years, while appearing on shows like 30 Rock, Big Lake, Love, and most recently The Mandalorian and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He was also, until recently, a familiar face throughout the extended UCB podcast universe, including Matt Besser's Improv4Humans and Scott Aukerman's Comedy Bang! Bang!.

Whatever excuse anyone around him might have had for saying nothing at the time, they have no excuse now. And yet here they all are, saying nothing.

Okay, here are some interesting passages. I'm going to put them in italics instead of block-quoting them because Letterdrop's block-quote function always gives me trouble:

Many of the three women’s allegations stem from the show’s first episode back on the air just 18 days after September 11—a landmark episode that opened with then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani standing before a group of first responders to proclaim that New York was up and running once more, choosing to “live our lives in freedom” instead of fear. Sanz had previously promised Melissa he would wear her first initial on his shirt on air but later apologized, per an AOL Instant Messenger chat log provided to The Daily Beast, that he’d instead had to wear a patriotic get-up to commemorate the occasion. (The pajamas he wore glowed in the dark, he allegedly told the teenager, “so my women can find me in the dark.”) Jane’s school friend, Katherine, also recalled attending that episode’s afterparty—where she alleges she witnessed her friend sitting with Sanz and Fallon “like they were pals,” and Sanz and Jane behaving like a couple.

On multiple occasions, Jane emphasized that the hardest aspect of her experience to stomach is the knowledge that Fallon, her one-time idol and arguably Sanz’s closest colleague, witnessed so many of her and Sanz’s interactions. The two shared an office at 30 Rock for years and first established contact with Jane in a joint email sent to her from an NBC account, according to the lawsuit.

“I don’t know how many people knew that Horatio was sexting me regularly,” she says. “I don’t know how much of our conversations happened when he was in his office at NBC, which he shared with Jimmy Fallon… But I know that I deserve to know.”

Katherine attended the 9/11 episode after-party with Jane in 2001, where she recalls observing Jane and Sanz behaving like a couple.

“I vividly remember, as I was kind of walking around with my head in the clouds meeting, like, Ryan Philippe… she was sitting down next to Horatio and Jimmy Fallon at this table and just talking like they were pals.”

Katherine recalls that at the afterparty, Sanz and Jane “were definitely cuddly and arms around each other. And for all intents and purposes, as an outsider, as a 17-year-old, and from me and Jane talking, they were a couple to me… They were dating in some capacity, and I’m like, ‘Look at how cool Jane is for dating this older guy.’” Katherine also remembers attending a subsequent party that same night where Sanz allegedly brought several young-looking female guests and handed out roses.

Katherine also allegedly had a troubling experience of her own at the SNL party. She claims that a high-profile SNL cast member sat next to her, began rubbing her leg, and called her beautiful, an allegation also made in Jane’s lawsuit. She recalls getting up immediately and walking away, filled with a mixture of confusion and adolescent glee. “I look back now and I’m like, ‘Why would any famous person entertain us?’” Katherine says. “‘Why would they even give us the time of day?' And it’s because they were predatory.”

Jane reported Sanz to the Upright Citizens Brigade, of which he was a founding member. (The Daily Beast has reviewed forwarded emails sent between Jane and the organization from late 2019 through early 2020 regarding the status of her report.) She recalls the group seemed reluctant to investigate at first and urged her to approach NBC’s lawyers. The comedian’s lawyer, meanwhile, was allegedly able to decline participation in the investigation on his behalf. It was Jane’s first taste of disappointment in what has become an ongoing search for justice. A representative for UCB did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.

Perhaps more than anything, what haunts Jane now is the sense that even despite having a mountain of evidence and a lengthy written confession, little visible action has been taken in response to her lawsuit—which would not have been possible were it not for a brief window provided by the Child Victims Act in New York, which allowed adults to bring forward sexual assault claims whose statute of limitations had previously expired.

More than anything, Jane says she’s come forward because she sees her case as part of a broader public safety issue. She hopes that her speaking out will prevent others from enduring a similar experience.

You can read the rest of the story here.