Lizzo has been sued by three of her former backup dancers who accused the singer of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
The popstar, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, is facing the legal battle after the dancers alleged she commented on their weight and pressured one to touch a nude performer in a strip club.
The plaintiffs – her former dancers – are named in the lawsuit as Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez.
Ron Zambrano, the women’s lawyer, said in the suit, revealed first by NBC News: ‘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.’
‘About Damn Time’ singer Lizzo, 35, is known for her gregarious body positivity.
Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, is facing the legal battle after the dancers alleged that she commented on their weight, pressured one to touch a nude performer in a club, and created a hostile work environment
Lizzo is not the only named defendant in the case, which was lodged in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday.
Her dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, is also facing a slew of accusations.
Quigley, according to the lawsuit, shared ‘lewd sexual fantasies,’ and publicly discussed the virginity of one of the plaintiffs while berating those who had had pre-marital sex.
The complaints for all damages include: Hostile work environment, sexual harassment, religious harassment, racial harassment, disability discrimination, and failure to prevent or remedy the harassment.
Lizzo is specifically accused of disability discrimination, creating a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and failing to stop said issues.
Her touring company Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc are also named as a defendant.
In the Amsterdam strip club Bananenbar, Lizzo allegedly ‘began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers,’ the suit states.
She allegedly encouraged ‘catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.’
Arianna Davis – one of the plaintiffs who lodged the lawsuit against Lizzo. In one instance noted in the lawsuit, Davis soiled her pants during an intense rehearsal because she was so fearful she’d lose her job. She was then handed a see-through outfit with no undergarments to finish the performance, the suit said
Crystal Williams – one of the plaintiffs who lodged the lawsuit against Lizzo. The suit claims that Williams spoke out against allegations Lizzo made that the dancers were drinking before their performances. She was fired a few days later
Noelle Rodriguez – one of the plaintiffs who lodged the lawsuit against Lizzo. When Rodriguez quit, Lizzo showed her two middle fingers and yelled a slur at her, the lawsuit claims
The Lizzo allegedly ‘turned her attention to Ms. Davis and began pressuring Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women.’
Davis refused multiple times, while the popstar allegedly chanted louder and louder to encourage her to do the act, the lawsuit claims. Davis eventually did touch the performer.
The suit said: ‘Plaintiffs were aghast with how little regard Lizzo showed for the bodily autonomy of her employees and those around her, especially in the presence of many people whom she employed.’
In another instance, the plaintiffs claim that Lizzo invited the dancers to a club in Paris – but failed to mention that it was a nude cabaret bar. This ‘shocked’ the dancers, who said Lizzo ‘robbed them of the choice not to participate,’ the suit said.
Lizzo also allegedly made a claim that the dancers were drinking before performances, which Williams then spoke out about. The popstar allegedly made the group go through an ‘excruciating’ 12-hour rehearsal.
Lizzo performs on stage during ‘The Special Tour’ at Rogers Arena in November 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia
Williams lost her job days after, the lawsuit claims.
Davis, meanwhile, soiled her pants during the intense rehearsal because she was so fearful she’d lose her job, the documents state. She was then handed a see-through outfit with no undergarments to finish the performance, the suit said.
Rodriguez complained to a manager about the decision to publicly fire Williams, after Lizzo had told the group she had ‘eyes and ears everywhere.’
Davis recorded the meeting on April 27, because she claims she suffers from an eye condition that leaves her disoriented.
But as a result, Lizzo held a meeting and had security confiscate dancers’ phones, the lawsuit claims.
It read: ‘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.’
When Davis tried to tell Lizzo and Quigley that she meant to harm recording the meeting, they berated her, and Lizzo fired her on the spot, the suit said.
Rodriguez then expressed how she felt disrespected and threatened to resign – to which Lizzo said she was ‘lucky.’
When Rodriguez did indeed quit, Lizzo showed her two middle fingers and yelled a slur at her, the lawsuit claims.