HomeEntertainmentFormer Tour Dancers Accuse...

Former Tour Dancers Accuse Lizzo of Harassment and Hostile Work Environment in Lawsuit

Three of Lizzo’s former dancers filed a lawsuit against her on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing the Grammy-winning singer and the captain of her dance team creating a hostile work environment while performing concerts on her Special Tour this year.

The lawsuit, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times by the plaintiffs’ law firm, said the dancers had been “exposed to an overtly sexual atmosphere that permeated their workplace,” which included “outings where nudity and sexuality were a focal point,” it said. The suit was first reported by NBC.

The defendants include Lizzo, using her full name Melissa Jefferson instead of her stage name; her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc.; and Shirlene Quigley, the tour’s dance captain. It does not specify whether the singer was aware of the plaintiffs’ allegations linked to Ms. Quigley.

The suit alleges that Lizzo and Ms. Quigley were involved in several episodes that lawyers for the three dancers said amounted to sexual and religious harassment and weight shaming, among other allegations.

The suit alleges that Ms. Quigley “made it her mission to preach” Christianity to the dancers, and fixated on virginity, while Lizzo sexually harassed them.

On one occasion while at a nightclub in Amsterdam, the lawsuit says, Lizzo began inviting employees to touch nude performers and handle dildos and bananas used in their performances.

Out of fear of retaliation, a dancer eventually “acquiesced” to touching the breast of a nude female performer despite repeatedly expressing no interest in doing so, the suit says.

Representatives for Lizzo and her production company did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Two of the plaintiffs, Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams, began performing with Lizzo after competing on her reality television show on Amazon Prime, “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” in 2021. The show was an opportunity to give plus-size dancers representation, Lizzo said at the time. Ms. Davis and Ms. Williams were fired in the spring of 2023, the lawsuit says.

Separately, a third plaintiff, Noelle Rodriguez, was hired in May 2021 to perform in Lizzo’s “Rumors” music video and remained on as part of her dance team. According to the lawsuit, Ms. Rodriguez resigned shortly after Ms. Davis and Ms. Williams had been fired.

Some of the allegations seemed to take aim at Lizzo’s reputation for championing body positivity and inclusivity.

“The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs, Ron Zambrano, said in a statement on Monday. Privately, he said, Lizzo “weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are not only illegal but absolutely demoralizing.”

Some of Lizzo’s statements to the dancers gave Ms. Davis, who was diagnosed with a binge eating disorder, the impression that she had to “explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job,” the suit says.

Since her breakout hit “Truth Hurts” dominated charts in 2019, Lizzo has popularized “feel-good music” and self-love and has celebrated diversity in all forms by churning out empowerment anthems, introducing a size-inclusive shapewear line and racking up millions of views on social media.

She won this year’s Grammy for record of the year for “About Damn Time.”

Diana Reddy, an assistant professor at the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, said that allegations that fall outside legally protected categories could undermine Lizzo’s body-positive message and “could certainly encourage a settlement.”

Proving a hostile work environment in the unconventional entertainment industry is difficult, she said, so the plaintiffs’ lawyers could be hoping for a settlement. “Employment discrimination plaintiffs don’t fare particularly well in court,” Ms. Reddy said.

Source link

Most Popular


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

Read Now

Why Sharon Osbourne Warns Against Ozempic After She Lost 42 Pounds – E! Online

Ozempic is no laughing matter for the comedian. Handler revealed her "anti-aging doctor" prescribed her the medication without realizing what the drug was. "I didn't even know I was on it," she said during the Jan. 25, 2023 episode of Call Her Daddy. "She said, 'If you ever...

PlayStation leader Jim Ryan to retire after 28 years with Sony

Jim Ryan, the head of PlayStation and CEO of Sony, is stepping down. In a press release on Wednesday, Sony announced that Ryan will retire in March 2024, while Sony Group Corporation president and chief operating officer Hiroki Totoki will become the interim CEO of Sony...

Saleh, players OK with Rodgers calling out Jets

Rich CiminiESPN Staff WriterSep 27, 2023, 05:49 PM ET3 Minute ReadFLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets coach Robert Saleh and key veteran leaders had no problem with injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers -- in absentia -- calling out the team for its sideline squabbles. They agreed...

NFL Injuries Week 4: Tracking Every Injury, Including the Latest on Jaylen Waddle, Austin Ekeler, David Montgomery, and Christian Watson

Injuries are an unfortunate reality of NFL life, but everyone who follows the league — fantasy football players, sports bettors, and fans of teams — wants the latest health information. In that vein, we’re tracking every NFL injury ahead of Week 4. Let’s review the injury report...

MTG and Boebert Try to Out-Troll Each Other Days Away From a Shutdown

With a government shutdown four days away, thanks largely to House Republicans’ inability to stop fighting amongst themselves, far-right Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert thought it important to focus on their pet grievances on Wednesday. Greene successfully used the Holman rule to attach an...

Lina Khan vs. Jeff Bezos: This Is Big Tech’s Real Cage Match

Jeff Bezos made his fortune with one truly big idea: What if a retailer did everything possible to make customers happy?His forcefully nurtured creation, Amazon, sold as many items as possible as cheaply as possible and delivered them as quickly as possible. The result is that...

Barry Manilow Beats Elvis Presley’s Record for Most Shows at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino

<!-- --> Barry Manilow Beats Elvis Presley's Record for Most Shows at Westgate Las Vegas ...

Counter-Strike 2 Just Officially Launched – IGN

Valve surprised everyone when it announced earlier this year that it was making a Counter-Strike 2 - and after months of limited testing, it's now available for PC players via Steam. The company announced the news with a new trailer today, which you can watch below.pic.twitter.com/SM57ZVCTmI—...

Latest Hipkins v Luxon debate: Former Cabinet ministers’ verdicts

Two former Cabinet ministers have given their verdicts after last night's Newshub leaders' debate, with both giving Labour leader Chris Hipkins credit but projecting a loss for his party in the upcoming election.Iain Lees-Galloway (Labour) and Wayne Mapp (National) joined Breakfast this morning to discuss the...

WSJ News Exclusive | UAW Threatens More Strikes as GM, Stellantis Try to Keep Repair Parts Flowing

UAW Threatens More Strikes as GM, Stellantis Try to Keep Repair Parts Flowing - WSJ  The Wall Street JournalUAW Auto strike affecting San Diego auto repair shops, customers  CBS 8 San DiegoUAW Strike Has the Big 3 Automakers Scrambling for Parts – MishTalk  Mish TalkCar shop managers concerned over...