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Lizzo facing allegations of sexual harassment and body-shaming. / getty imagesLizzo facing allegations of sexual harassment and body-shaming. / getty images

Lizzo facing allegations of sexual harassment and body-shaming.

Publish – 2 aug , 2023

In a recent lawsuit filed on Tuesday, three of Lizzo’s tour dancers have come forward with serious allegations against the singer, accusing her of sexual harassment and fostering a hostile work environment. The incidents are said to have occurred between 2021 and 2023.

According to the lawsuit, which was first reported by NBC News and filed in Los Angeles, the dancers claim that Lizzo subjected them to various forms of harassment based on their sexual, racial, and religious backgrounds. Surprisingly, the lawsuit also highlights incidents where Lizzo, who is known as an advocate for body positivity and self-love, allegedly criticized a dancer for recent weight gain and subsequently berated and fired her for recording a meeting.

Some of the other disturbing allegations in the suit include Lizzo pressuring one dancer to engage in inappropriate conduct with a nude performer at a club in Amsterdam and subjecting several dancers to an excessively long and distressing audition under false accusations of drinking while working.

Furthermore, the lawsuit implicates Lizzo’s dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, who is accused of pushing her Christian beliefs onto other performers, denigrating those who engaged in premarital sex, and engaging in lewd discussions about sexual matters.

Lizzo facing allegations of sexual harassment and body-shaming.
Lizzo facing allegations of sexual harassment and body-shaming. / getty images

 

Lizzo facing allegations of sexual harassment and body-shaming.

Although the lawsuit does not directly claim that Lizzo was aware of Quigley’s alleged behavior, the dancers’ lawyer, Ron Zambrano, stated that the plaintiffs believe she might have been aware of previous complaints made against Quigley.

The lawsuit names (Melissa Viviane Jefferson), her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc, and Quigley as defendants, and it includes allegations of sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment, false imprisonment, and interference with prospective economic advantage. However, not all claims were made against each defendant.

Zambrano expressed shock at how she and her management team treated their performers, considering that the singer’s public image promotes body positivity and self-empowerment. The dancers’ attorney described the alleged actions as not only illegal but also demoralizing.

The lawsuit outlines a particularly distressing incident at an Amsterdam club, where Lizzo is said to have encouraged cast members to engage in inappropriate behavior with nude performers. The suit alleges that Lizzo pressured one dancer to touch the nude breasts of a performer, creating an uncomfortable and humiliating situation.

Two of the plaintiffs, Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams, joined Lizzo’s team after participating in the dance competition show, Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, which the singer hosts for Amazon. Williams was later fired, purportedly due to budget cuts, while Davis was terminated after the singer accused her of lacking commitment and learning she had recorded performance notes.

Lizzo facing allegations of sexual harassment and body-shaming. / getty images
Lizzo facing allegations of sexual harassment and body-shaming. / getty images

The third plaintiff, Noelle Rodriguez, claims to have quit her position in response to mistreatment by her teammates and Quigley’s aggressive religious proselytizing. Rodriguez’s concerns were allegedly disregarded by management.

The lawsuit does not specify a monetary amount sought for damages, which include emotional distress, lost wages, and attorney fees.

While the lawsuit unfolds, Lizzo has been on an extensive tour throughout North America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia during 2023, with the Australian leg of her tour garnering praise for its joyful and celebratory atmosphere, as described by The Guardian last month.

In a statement provided to Variety, Ron Zambrano, the attorney representing the dancers, expressed his astonishment, saying, “The striking contrast between Lizzo’s public image and the way she and her management team treated their performers is disheartening. While publicly advocating for body positivity, she allegedly engaged in weight-shaming and demeaning behavior towards her dancers, actions that are not only against the law but also deeply demoralizing.”

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