Grammy-Award-winning musician Lizzo is fighting back against a slew of allegations from former employees claiming they were privy to a hostile work environment and harassment.
The singer was hit with a lawsuit on behalf of three former backup dancers claiming that between May 2021 and May 2023, they were “weight-shamed, forced to endure sexually denigrating behavior and preaching about sexuality and Christianity, and were pressured into participating in disturbing sex shows” by Lizzo.
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“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,” a lawyer for the former employees said Ron Zambrano in a statement.
Lizzo performs at Qudos Bank Arena on July 23, 2023 in Sydney, Australia (Getty Images)
On Thursday, Lizzo issued a response denying the contents of the lawsuit and calling the claims “outrageous” and “unbelievable.”
“These last few days have been gut-wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing. My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized,” she wrote. “Usually, I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous not to be addressed.”
The singer claimed that the employees who filed the suit were made aware by Lizzo’s team that the way they behaved and acted on the tour was “inappropriate,” and that it’s never been her intention to make people feel “uncomfortable” while under her management.
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“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,” she continued. “I’m hurt but I will not let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time.”
The lawsuit was filed by former dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez and names Melissa Viviane Jefferson (Lizzo’s legal name), Shirlene Quigley (Lizzo’s dance team captain), and Big Grrrl Big Touring (Lizzo’s production company) as the defendant.