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HomeCelebrityLizzo Lawsuit: Singer Says Dancers’ Harassment Claims Are False

Lizzo Lawsuit: Singer Says Dancers’ Harassment Claims Are False

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US pop star Lizzo has said allegations by three of her ex-dancers, including sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment, are “false”.

The singer called the last few days “gut-wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing”.

“Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.”

The lawsuit also includes accusations of religious and racial harassment.

Discrimination, assault and false imprisonment are also listed in the legal case.

Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez are the former dancers bringing the case against the singer, her dance captain and her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring (BGBT).

Ms Davis and Ms Williams were fired from the dance team, while Ms Rodriguez later resigned over the alleged treatment of her fellow colleagues.

On Wednesday Ms Williams told CBS she wanted to ensure that other dancers who work with Lizzo “don’t have to go through that same experience”.

The legal action, filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday, includes allegations the dancers were pressured into attending sex shows and interacting with the dancers at the shows between 2021 and 2023.

Among the claims against Lizzo – whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson – are that she “pressured Ms Davis to touch the breasts” of a performer in a nightclub in Amsterdam, and Ms Davis – after resisting – eventually acquiesced “fearing it may harm her future on the team” if she didn’t do so.

What did Lizzo say?

“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.

Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed. 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.

“As an artist, I have always been very passionate about what I do. I take my music and my performances seriously because at the end of the day I only want to put out the best art that represents me and my fans.

With passion comes hard work and high standards. 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.

“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. 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.

There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world. I know what it feels like to be body shamed on a daily basis and would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight.

“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.”

Lizzo – who is known for celebrating her body and self-love – is also accused, along with dance choreographer Tanisha Scott, of fat-shaming Ms Davis on tour.

Ms Davis alleges the two questioned whether she was “struggling with something as she seemed less committed to her role on the dance cast”, the case details.

“In professional dance, a dancer’s weight gain is often seen as that dancer getting lazy or worse off as a performer. Lizzo’s and Ms Scott’s questions about Ms Davis’s commitment to the tour were thinly veiled concerns about Ms Davis’s weight gain,” the documents allege.

The case also alleges that staff working for BGBT scolded dancers for “unacceptable and disrespectful” behaviour while working on the tour, without specifying what that behaviour was.

The dancers allege that “only the dance cast – comprised of full-figured women of colour – were ever spoken to in this manner, giving [the dancers] the impression that these comments were charged with racial and fat-phobic animus”.

Additionally, it alleges the dance team’s captain, Shirlene Quigley, pushed her Christian beliefs on performers and derided those who engaged in premarital sex.

She is also accused of openly discussing one of the former dancers’ virginity, and posting about it on social media.

Accusations including racial discrimination are also levelled at BGBT’s management team.

It alleges black members of the dance troupe were “treated differently” from other members of the team.

Both Quigley and Scott have been contacted for comment by the BBC.

The plaintiffs also allege Lizzo and the production company team did not pay them fairly while on parts of Lizzo’s European tour.

Who is Lizzo?

Lizzo is an artist at the top of the music industry, winning record of the year at this year’s Grammys for About Damn Time and playing the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in June to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend.

This week she entered the charts with Pink, her contribution to the soundtrack of the massively popular Barbie film.

Who are the dancers involved?

Arianna Davis, 24, from Indiana, went viral when she answered a casting call by Lizzo, posting a clip of herself dancing on TikTok, which the singer responded to.

She featured on the Emmy-award winning Amazon reality competition, Watch Out For The Big Grrrls – which saw Lizzo pick out her new dancers. Ms Davis then toured with the star, performing at the 2023 Brit Awards in February.

Crystal Williams, 26, from Texas, also briefly appeared on Lizzo’s reality show and later the singer’s “Special Tour”.

She sent an online submission to Lizzo’s casting call, having performed with a college dance group while studying mass communication.

After a brief appearance on the TV dancing competition, she dropped out as she had already secured a job as one of the singer’s new backing dancers.

Noelle Rodriguez, 25, and also from Texas, did not appear on Lizzo’s competition reality show.

She was hired after starring in her music video for the song Rumors.

Previously, she appeared as background dancer in a scene in the first season of the US teen drama Euphoria, as well as several high-profile TV adverts. She has performed with Beyonce at Coachella, as well as Sam Smith, and Janet Jackson at the Billboard Music Awards.

Source : BBC

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