Lizzo accused of sexual harassment and weight-shaming by former dancers

Three of Lizzo’s tour dancers have accused the singer of sexual harassment, and of making a hostile work setting by sexual, racial and non secular harassment in a number of incidents between 2021 and 2023, in response to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

The dancers additionally alleged that Lizzo, generally known as an advocate for physique positivity and self-love, criticized a dancer’s latest weight acquire and later berated, then fired, that dancer for recording a gathering.

In line with the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles and first reported by NBC News, Lizzo allegedly pressured one dancer to the touch a nude performer at a membership in Amsterdam and subjected a number of dancers to an “excruciating” 12-hour audition after making false accusations that they drank whereas working.

Moreover, the go well with alleges that Lizzo’s dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, pushed her Christian beliefs upon different performers and denigrated those that had premarital intercourse, whereas additionally simulating oral intercourse, sharing lewd sexual fantasies and discussing one performer’s virginity.

The lawsuit doesn’t say whether or not Lizzo knew about Quigley’s alleged conduct, however the plaintiffs – dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez – consider she was conscious of complaints leveled towards Quigley, their lawyer, Ron Zambrano, informed NBC Information.

The go well with names Lizzo, authorized identify Melissa Viviane Jefferson, her manufacturing firm, Massive Grrrl Massive Touring, Inc and Quigley as defendants. Claims embrace sexual harassment, creation of a hostile work setting, false imprisonment and interference with potential financial benefit. Not each declare was introduced towards every defendant.

“The beautiful nature of how Lizzo and her administration workforce handled their performers appears to go towards every thing Lizzo stands for publicly, whereas privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in methods that aren’t solely unlawful however completely demoralizing,” Zambrano mentioned in an announcement.

Representatives for Lizzo couldn’t be instantly reached for remark.

The go well with particulars an incident at an Amsterdam membership earlier this yr during which the singer allegedly “started inviting solid members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and consuming bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas”, the go well with says. Lizzo allegedly pressured Davis to the touch the nude breasts of 1 performer, and started goading her on when she refused.

When Davis finally acquiesced, the group burst into laughter, the go well with claims. Lizzo then allegedly pressured a member of her safety workers to get on stage and yelled “Take it off!”

“Plaintiffs have been aghast with how little regard Lizzo confirmed for the bodily autonomy of her workers and people round her, particularly within the presence of many individuals whom she employed,” the go well with says.

Each Davis and Williams started performing with Lizzo after they participated on Watch Out for the Massive Grrrls, the dance competitors present the singer hosts for Amazon, in 2021. Williams alleges that in April, she spoke up in a gathering the place Lizzo accused dancers of consuming earlier than performances, resulting in a tense forwards and backwards between them.

The day prior, Lizzo informed the dancers they must audition once more, in response to the go well with, resulting in an “excruciating” 12-hour rehearsal during which Davis dirty her pants as a result of she was too frightened of shedding her job to make use of the toilet.

Williams was fired 5 days later in a choice Lizzo’s workforce attributed to funds cuts.

Davis alleges that in April 2023, Lizzo questioned her “dedication”, which she felt was a thinly veiled criticism of her weight. She claims she was fired on the spot the next month when the singer discovered she recorded efficiency notes, a choice Davis attributes to an eye fixed situation that left her disoriented in hectic conditions.

The third plaintiff, Rodriguez, says she stop in response to the remedy by her teammates and Quigley’s intense non secular proselytizing. Rodriguez claims Quigley repeatedly pushed her Christianity on dancers, and that considerations dropped at administration weren’t addressed.

When Rodriguez introduced up the firings of Williams and Davis, she claims she was dismissed as “we’ve by no means had issues with you”. The go well with claims that Rodriguez, as “one of many few members of the dance solid who isn’t black, was not painted with the identical generalized and unfounded criticisms because the black members of the dance solid”.

The go well with doesn’t specify a greenback quantity for damages protecting emotional misery, misplaced wages and attorneys’ charges.

Lizzo, in the meantime, has spent nearly all of 2023 on tour, with legs in North America, Europe, Oceania and Asia. She wrapped the Australian part of her tour, which the Guardian described as stuffed with “spectacular, celebratory pleasure”, final month.

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