A trio of former tour dancers for Lizzo are suing the singer, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., and Shirlene Quigley, captain of the singer’s dance team for allegedly exposing them to a toxic work environment that includes several incidents of sexual harassment. Recently, Lizzo has spoken out on the situation in a lengthy message released on Instagram expressing her disappointment and opinion on the case. Here’s what we know:
What have the three dancers accused Lizzo of?
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Ariana Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez accuses Melissa Viviane Jefferson (Lizzo) and Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. of interrogating dancers about their weight and pressuring them to engage in sexually explicit acts at sex shows. The complaint details an incident in Amsterdam where staff was pushed to engage with nude performers, and more shocking alleged situations at BGBT. The plaintiffs, Williams and Rodriguez, allege religious and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault, and false imprisonment as well. Afterwards, the singer fired two of the dancers, Davis and Williams, while Rodriguez left the dance team of her own volition.
“Her denial of this reprehensible behavior only adds to our clients’ emotional distress. The dismissive comments and utter lack of empathy are quite telling about her character and only serve to minimize the trauma she has caused the plaintiffs and other employees who have now come forward sharing their own negative experiences. While Lizzo notes it was never her intention ‘to make anyone feel uncomfortable,’ that is exactly what she did to the point of demoralizing her dancers and flagrantly violating the law.”Ron Zambrano, attorney for Williams, Rodriguez and Davis
What has Lizzo said regarding this lawsuit?
“I am not here to be looked at as a victim, but I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days,” the award-winning singer asserted in a lengthy Instagram post on Thursday. “There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world.” In response to the allegations, Lizzo described the previous several days as “gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing,” claiming that her work ethic, morality, and integrity had been questioned and ridiculed.
“These sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional,” the singer further claimed. “Sometimes I have to make hard decisions but it’s never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable or like they aren’t valued as an important part of the team.” The post then continued, “I am very open with my sexuality and expressing myself, but I cannot accept or allow people to use that openness to make me out to be something I am not.” After this, an attorney for the three dancers released a statement (given above) detailing the plaintiff’s reaction to Lizzo’s words.