Comedian Kevin Hart named in $60 million suit by woman in 2017 sex tape

Montia Sabbag says the 2017 tape was recorded without her permission and she believes Hart "conspired" to have it leaked.
Image: Kevin Hart at the Build Series at Build Studio in New York City.
Kevin Hart at the Build Series at Build Studio in New York City.Roy Rochlin / Getty Images file

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By Ben Kesslen

A woman in a 2017 sex tape with Kevin Hart is suing the comedian and others allegedly involved in the tape’s creation or publication online for $60 million.

Montia Sabbag alleges in the federal lawsuit filed Monday in the Central District of California that she was secretly videotaped “without her knowledge or consent, while she was engaged in private, consensual sexual relations” with Hart in his hotel room in Las Vegas.

The incident became public in September 2017, after the tape was published online. Hart addressed the tape at the time, writing on Instagram that he was being extorted and apologizing to his wife and kids: "I made a bad error in judgement and put myself in an environment where only bad things can happen, and they did."

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Montia Sabbag speaks regarding the alleged attack on her character after accusations that Sabbag attempted to extort comedian Kevin Hart during a press conference held at The Bloom Firm Sept. 20, 2017 in Woodland Hills, California.Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images file

Upon the tape's release, Sabbag held a press conference, at which her lawyer said, "Montia and I are not asking for a cent from Kevin Hart," according to USA Today. Both Sabbag and Hart were “victims” in the taping, the lawyer said.

But the suit Sabbag filed this week alleges that Hart allowed the tape to be recorded, either “negligently or intentionally,” because he “authorized, allowed, and otherwise permitted" his then-friend Jonathan Jackson to access his hotel room.

Hart “conspired” with Jackson and obtained “tremendous financial benefit” from the tape, which he used to promote a tour he was making at the time and to “increase his overall pop culture status,” according to the suit.

Jackson was charged last year with attempting to extort the comedian with the tape. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Officesaid Jackson attempted to “extort an undisclosed amount of money from Hart between Aug. 25 and Aug. 30, 2017,” and later tried to sell the tape to various celebrity news websites.

Jackson is included as a defendant in Sabbag's suit this week, which claims he had entered the hotel room to set up the recording. The hotel's operators are also named as defendants.

Sabbag “had no knowledge that the intimate activity depicted in the video was being recorded,” the suit says.“Had Ms. Sabbag known that her private sexual activities were being secretly filmed, [she] would not have engaged in any such activities.”

The suit claims the incident “has caused and continues to cause Ms. Sabbag great emotional distress and embarrassment.”

NBC News reached out to representatives for Hart, Sabbag, and Jackson for comment but did not immediately hear back.