Lizzo has spoken out in response to a number of of her tour dancers levelling allegations of sexual harassment in opposition to her, calling their claims “sensationalized tales”.
Earlier this week, a lawsuit filed by three of the singer’s tour dancers alleged that Lizzo had sexually harassed them and created a hostile work atmosphere by sexual, racial and spiritual harassment in varied incidents between 2021 and 2023.
In a lengthy statement shared on social media on Thursday, Lizzo stated the “previous couple of days have been intestine wrenchingly tough and overwhelmingly disappointing”.
“My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized,” she stated, including that she was solely talking out as a result of “false allegations however these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.
“These sensationalized tales are coming from former staff who’ve already publicly admitted that they have been instructed their behaviour on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional,” she continued.
The 35-year-old emphasised it was by no means her “intention to make anybody really feel uncomfortable or like they aren’t valued as an necessary a part of the staff”.
“I’m not right here to be checked out as a sufferer, however I additionally know that I’m not the villain that individuals and the media have portrayed me to be these previous couple of days,” she stated.
The lawsuit consists of many claims, together with that Lizzo allegedly pressured a dancer to the touch a nude performer at a membership and compelled a number of dancers to participate in an “excruciating” 12-hour audition; it additionally alleges that the singer’s dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, pushed her Christian beliefs on performers and denigrated those that had premarital intercourse. The go well with additionally says that Quigley simulated oral intercourse, talked a couple of performer’s virginity, and overshared “her masturbatory habits and intercourse life along with her husband”.
The dancers additionally alleged they skilled racial harassment from Large Grrrl Large Touring, Inc administration, who “handled the Black members of the dance staff otherwise than different members”.
In a single notably troubling passage, the go well with describes an evening at a membership referred to as Bananenbar, “the place patrons are allowed to work together with fully nude performer”.
“Whereas at Bananenbar, issues shortly received out of hand. Lizzo 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. Lizzo then turned her consideration to Ms Davis and commenced pressuring Ms Davis to the touch the breasts of one of many nude girls performing on the membership,” the go well with stated. “Lizzo started main a chant goading Ms Davis. Ms Davis stated 3 times, loud sufficient for all to listen to, ‘I’m good,’ expressing her need to not contact the performer.”
The plaintiffs within the case are the dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez, who’re represented by lawyer Ron Zambrano.
Per the go well with, Davis and Williams each competed on Lizzo’s 2021 Amazon actuality present, Watch Out for the Large Grrrls, earlier than performing alongside the star. Each have been later fired.
Rodriguez, who resigned in 2022, was additionally employed in 2021 after performing in Lizzo’s video for Rumors.
Lizzo, whose authorized title is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, her manufacturing firm, Large Grrrl Large Touring, Inc and Quigley are all labeled as defendants.
In a press release concerning the go well with, Zambrano stated: “The beautiful nature of how Lizzo and her administration staff handled their performers appears to go in opposition to the whole lot Lizzo stands for publicly, whereas privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in methods that aren’t solely unlawful however completely demoralizing.”
Additionally on Thursday, Davis, Williams, and Rodriguez appeared on CNN This Morning alongside Zambrano and pushed again on Lizzo’s denial of wrongdoing. Davis particularly referred to as the artist’s assertion “so disheartening”.
“The info are the info,” Davis instructed host Phil Mattingly. “Was I pressured to the touch a nude performer? Sure. Was I introduced into a personal assembly the place I used to be form of interrogated about my private issues and ended up having to share very private, private issues about myself concerning my weight? Sure … I imply, the record goes on.
“Had been we pressured to do an excruciatingly lengthy rehearsal that was a reaudition for the job that we already booked as a result of, apparently, we weren’t doing ok? Sure, that’s true … Throughout that excruciatingly lengthy reaudition course of, was I below the impression that if I left the stage I’d be fired? Sure. Did I, sadly, go to the lavatory on myself at one stage as a result of I used to be so terrified? Sure – … I’m not a lawyer, I don’t know something, however I do know that should you ask somebody to inform the reality, this stuff will come out of her mouth,” she continued.