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

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

Read Now

The 5 best non-Shohei Ohtani moves of the MLB offseason — and 4 that should happen before Opening Day

Baseball has seen a little bit of everything this offseason. Following the Texas Rangers’ World Series victory, we had a stretch of relative quiet, with the occasional transaction sprinkled in every few weeks.That was in part because we were waiting for arguably the most anticipated signing...

Elden Ring DLC Gameplay Reveal Trailer Confirmed for Wednesday – IGN

Our first look at Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree will arrive in the form of a trailer tomorrow morning, FromSoftware and Bandai Namco have announced.The game’s official X/Twitter account revealed the news in a social media post, promising to deliver a first look at the...

Rays Sign Amed Rosario To One-Year Deal

5:10pm: The Rays have now made it official, announcing that they have signed Rosario. To open a roster spot, Rasmussen was placed on the 60-day IL. 2:45pm: The Rays and infielder Amed Rosario are in agreement on a one-year, $1.5MM deal, per Jeff Passan of ESPN. The...

Amazon to join Dow Jones Industrial Average, reflecting ‘evolving nature of American economy’

Last Updated: Feb. 20, 2024 at 5:52 p.m. ET First Published: Feb. 20, 2024 at 5:32 p.m. ET Amazon.com Inc. is set to join the Dow Jones Industrial Average in a week, a move meant to reflect...

Hunter Biden’s lawyer says informant charged with lying ‘infected’ the case

Hunter Biden’s lawyers argued in a court filing Tuesday that the indictment last week of an FBI informant for allegedly lying about the first family has tainted the federal charges against the president’s son.The filing in Delaware federal court shows how Biden’s lawyers are moving quickly...

‘Porky’s’ star Tony Ganios dead at 64 after his ‘heart stopped’

Celebrities By Erin Keller Published Feb. 20, 2024, 5:12 p.m. ET Tony Ganios, star of the sex comedy “Porky’s” and numerous other cult classic films, has reportedly died. He was 64. TMZ broke the news Tuesday after an X account from someone claiming to be Ganios’ longtime fiancée, Amanda...

Biotech Crashes 74% After Unexpected Liver Failure Sidelines Two Tests

Biotech stock Rapt Therapeutics (RAPT) plummeted to a record low Tuesday after the Food and Drug Administration put two of its clinical studies on hold. X The company is testing a drug called zelnecirnon as a treatment for eczema and asthma. But in a midstage test, one eczema...

Gemini on your phone but Google Assistant in your ears

In testing the Gemini app over the past week, my usage of Google Assistant through Pixel Buds Pro has skyrocketed, and I’m actually liking the balance. 9to5Google has a rebooted newsletter that highlights the biggest Google stories with added commentary and other tidbits. Sign up to get...

CFP board approves move to 5+7 model for 2024

The College Football Playoff Board of Managers on Tuesday voted unanimously to revise the format of the 12-team event to include the five highest-ranked conference champions and seven at-large bids, finalizing an adjustment from the original “6+6” model. The board, which is made up of 11 chancellors...

Helldivers 2 Patch 1.000.10 Takes Aim at Matchmaking, PC Black Screen, and Preps for Increased Server Capacity – IGN

Helldivers 2 Patch 1.000.10 is starting to roll out on Steam and PS5, which developer Arrowhead hopes will address some of the numerous issues that fans have encountered over the past week. Chief among them are issues with matchmaking and server issues, as well as the...

Ed Kelce teases whether son Travis will travel to Australia to see Taylor Swift perform

Music By Sydney Champagne Published Feb. 20, 2024, 2:28 p.m. ET Travis Kelce’s dad still doesn’t know if his son will be traveling to Sydney, Australia to join Taylor Swift on her Eras Tour concert. When asked about any upcoming travel plans, Ed Kelce told the Sydney Herald Square...