Lizzo, the chart-topping singer known for promoting body positivity and empowerment, is now facing serious allegations in a lawsuit filed by three former dancers.
The lawsuit, submitted in Los Angeles Superior Court, also includes Lizzo’s Big Grrrl Big Touring production company and dance captain Shirlene Quigley as defendants. The dancers claim they experienced sexual harassment, racial harassment, and religious harassment, leading to a hostile work environment.
The three dancers, Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez, began working with Lizzo in 2021. The lawsuit states that Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams were hired for the Amazon reality series “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” while Noelle Rodriguez was recruited after appearing in Lizzo’s 2021 music video for “Rumors.”
The most shocking incident cited in the lawsuit involves a post-show afterparty in Amsterdam earlier this year. Allegedly, Lizzo pressured one of the dancers, Arianna Davis, to touch the breasts of a nude performer, amid chants from onlookers. The lawsuit further claims that Lizzo encouraged dancers to engage in explicit activities involving dildos and bananas.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Beyoncé seemingly skips over Lizzo’s name during the Queens Remix performance of ‘Break My Soul’ tonight at the Renaissance World Tour.
She instead repeats Erykah Badu’s name four times.
— Pop Base (@PopBase) August 2, 2023
The dancers assert that Lizzo showed little regard for their bodily autonomy and frequently engaged in demeaning behavior. They also accuse Lizzo of weight-shaming and discrimination based on their race and size. One dancer, Arianna Davis, alleges that Lizzo called attention to her weight, leading to emotional distress and disclosure of her struggles with anxiety, depression, and binge eating disorder.
Crystal Williams claims that she lost her job after challenging Lizzo’s assertion that dancers should drink before rehearsals. Additionally, Noelle Rodriguez alleges that Lizzo physically confronted her after she resigned in support of Arianna Davis, leading to a lawsuit for assault.
The lawsuit also raises concerns about the production company’s response to the dancers’ requests for fair pay. Allegedly, the dancers, who are full-figured women of color, were scolded when seeking 50% of their weekly pay during downtime, while other cast members were not treated in the same manner.
Lawyer Ron Zambrano, representing the dancers, expressed shock at the discrepancy between Lizzo’s public image and her alleged behavior towards her employees. The lawsuit seeks damages for emotional distress, unpaid wages, loss of earnings, and attorney’s fees.
Pitchfork reached out to Lizzo’s representatives and Shirlene Quigley for comment. As the case unfolds, it could have significant implications for Lizzo’s reputation and the treatment of workers in the entertainment industry.
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