Lizzo has been sued by three former dancers for sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment, NBC News reports. The lawsuit, viewed by Pitchfork, was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court and also named Lizzo’s Big Grrrl Big Touring production company and dance captain Shirlene Quigley. The dancers are suing for damages over emotional distress including unpaid wages, loss of earnings, and attorney’s fees. Pitchfork has reached out to Lizzo’s representatives and Quigley for comment.

The three dancers behind the lawsuit all began working with Lizzo in 2021. Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams were hired around the Amazon reality series Watch Out for the Big Grrrls. A third, Noelle Rodriguez, was hired after appearing in the 2021 “Rumors” video.

The lawsuit also described an incident that took place at a post-show afterparty in Amsterdam earlier this year where Lizzo allegedly pressured Davis to touch the breasts of a nude performer with goading chants. The lawsuit also claims Lizzo encouraged dancers to “catch dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas and eat bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.” 

“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,” the lawsuit states. The dancers also claimed she invited them to a Paris cabaret bar for “inspiration” without disclosing that the performers would be nude.

Davis also sued the production company and Lizzo for disability discrimination. The dancer claimed that Lizzo called attention to the dancer’s weight in a “thinly veiled” comment about her seeming “less committed” to her work following a SXSW performance. Davis claimed Lizzo was “relentless” in asking her to disclose which “personal issues” she was dealing with, and therefore, Davis disclosed that she was struggling with anxiety, depression, and had been diagnosed with binge eating disorder. The lawsuit states:

In response, Lizzo and [choreographer Tanisha] Scott dismissively offered Ms. Davis time off of rehearsals to attend therapy. This offer seemed strange to Ms. Davis and made her feel like if she accepted the time off, Lizzo and BGBT would see her as too weak to continue as a member of the dance cast. Accordingly, Ms. Davis declined, thinking it was the only way she could keep her job. This meeting took place immediately before a show and although Ms. Davis was hurt and emotionally drained by being forced to tell her employers about personal struggles, she still went out and performed that night.

Williams claims to have lost her job after speaking up at a rehearsal where she challenged Lizzo’s assertion that the dancers drink before rehearsals. Davis recorded an April 27 meeting, claiming to do so because of a stress-induced eye condition. When Lizzo learned of the recording, the lawsuit claims she expressed outrage at an emergency meeting where Davis acknowledged making the recording. Davis said Lizzo fired her on the spot. Davis alleged false imprisonment against the production company, claiming she was forced to remain in the room so her phone could be searched.

Rodriguez said she publicly resigned in response to Lizzo firing Davis. The lawsuit claims that Lizzo “approached Ms. Rodriguez aggressively, yelling profanities, cracking her knuckles, and balling her fists apparently preparing herself attack.” Lizzo allegedly yelled, “You’re so fucking lucky” and was pulled away. Rodriguez is suing Lizzo for assault over this incident.

The complaint cites racial harassment over comments “charged with racial and fat-phobic animus” from touring company employees. The dancers said that when they sought 50% of their weekly pay during their downtime, they were offered a 25% rate and scolded. “Only the dance cast—comprised of full-figured women of color — were ever spoken to in this manner,” the lawsuit claimed. Quigley was specifically accused of religious harassment for taking “every opportunity to proselytize to any and all in her presence regardless of protestations.”

“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 dancers’ lawyer Ron Zambrano said in a statement.


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