Lizzo is being accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment in a new lawsuit filed by three of her former dancers.
The singer’s production company and Shirlene Quigley, the captain of her dance team, are also named as defendants.
The plaintiffs – Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis, and Noelle Rodriguez – participated in Lizzo’s reality TV show contest, “Watch Out For The Big Grrrls,” and were asked to join her on “The Special Tour.”
The plaintiffs also performed with the Grammy Award-winning singer at festivals and other appearances beginning in September 2021 through 2023.
The lawsuit claims Lizzo (real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson), who is known for her constant message of body positivity, fat-shamed one of her dancers.
The dancer claims not only did Lizzo bring up her weight, but she was also berated and ultimately fired after she recorded a meeting due to an eye condition that prevented her from being in attendance.
“Lizzo became furious, hurling expletives at the group, and stated that she was going to go around the room, person-by-person until someone told Lizzo who made the recording,” the suit claims. Davis confessed she had recorded the meeting, but claims she explained that she did not mean to cause Lizzo harm and that the video had been deleted.
In the lawsuit, Shirlene is accused of trying to convert the dancers to her religion and chastising them for having premarital sex.
The suit states that Shirlene Quigley “made comments deriding people who engaged in pre-marital sex, knowing that some members of the dance cast did not share her views. Ms. Quigley also had a party trick in which she would simulate oral sex on a banana in front of the rest of the dance cast. These instances were always unprompted and made Plaintiffs uncomfortable.”
Two of the plaintiffs claim during a stop in Amsterdam in February 2023, they went to a strip club in the Red Light District with Lizzo.
While there, the lawsuit claims the group pressured Davis to touch one of the dancer’s breasts against her will.
The lawsuit states:“… things quickly got out of hand. Lizzo began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching d**dos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.”
The suit also alleges when dancers banded together to request a retainer for their work, they were scolded by someone on the management team for “unacceptable and disrespectful behavior.”
At one point, the dancers were also asked to re-audition after being accused of drinking before performances and not “performing up to par.
Arianna Davis, who suffers from anxiety, was so worried about being fired that she endured a “brutal” 8-hour rehearsal and ended up soiling herself.
Even after her accident, Davis was required to finish the rehearsal.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Ron Zambrano, said in a statement:
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 not only illegal but absolutely demoralizing.
The suit seeks an unspecified amount of damages, unpaid wages, loss of earnings, deferred compensation, and other employment benefits, including general damages.
It also seeks special damages, including medical expenses, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees, as well as benefits for violations of plaintiffs’ civil rights through the Fair Employment and Housing Act, along with any further relief the court grants.
Another one of Lizzo’s former dancers Courtney Hollinquest took to her Instagram Story writing:
For clarification, I’m not a part of the lawsuit- but this was very much my experience in my time there.
Big shoutout to the dancers who had the courage to bring this to light.
Lizzo’s former creative director, Quin Whitney Wilson, shared Courtney’s post and added:
Echoing what @cquestt said ❤️ I haven’t been a part of that world for around three years, for a reason.
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.
See their original posts below.
Lizzo is getting cooked in the streets of social media as people react to the shocking lawsuit.
Lizzo has not publicly addressed the lawsuit or the allegations against her and her team.
Source: Rolling Stone