Lizzo Responds To ‘Outrageous’ Lawsuit Alleging Sexual Harassment, Body-Shaming
Pop singer and rapper Lizzo responded Thursday to a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and a toxic work environment.
Along with a slew of other allegations, three former backup dancers — Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez — claim Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, pressured them to engage with nude performers at an Amsterdam club in February.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, takes aim at Lizzo, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., and Lizzo’s dance team captain, Shirlene Quigley.
Lizzo described the allegations as “outrageous” in an Instagram post.
“Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed,” the 35-year-old wrote. “These sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.”
Lizzo is also accused of body-shaming a dancer for gaining weight, which runs counter to the brand the singer has cultivated.
“The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly, while privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are … absolutely demoralizing,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, Ron Zambrano, said in a statement.
“I am very open with my sexuality and expressing myself but I cannot accept or allow people to use that openness to make me out to be something I am not,” Lizzo reacted on Instagram. “There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world. I know what it feels like to be body shamed on a daily basis and would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight.”
“The last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing,” she added. “My work ethic, morals, and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized.”
As noted by The Daily Wire, Lizzo’s former creative director Quinn Whitney Wilson and dancer Courtney Hollinquest expressed support for the backup dancers suing the pop star.
“I’m not a part of the lawsuit – but this was very much my experience in my time there,” Hollinquest wrote. “I very much applaud the dancers courage to bring this to light.”
“I haven’t been a part of that world for around three years, for a reason,” Wilson said. “I very much applaud the dancers’ courage to bring this to light[,] and I grieve parts of my own experience. I’d appreciate space to understand my feelings.”