Lizzo’s Former Dancers Accuse Her of Sexual and Verbal Harassment

Lizzo’s Former Dancers Accuse Her of Sexual and Verbal Harassment

On Aug. 1, three of Lizzo’s former dancers filed a lawsuit against the 35-year-old musician. In the suit, obtained by NBC News, plaintiffs Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez detailed the hostile work environment they allegedly endured during their time on tour, including weight shaming, verbal altercations, and forced participation in a sex show. They also claimed that the captain of Lizzo’s dance team, Shirlene Quigley, frequently overshared personal details about her sex life and religious beliefs during rehearsals, identifying one of the plaintiffs as a “non-believer” and openly discussing the virginity of another in interviews and on social media.

Davis specifically accused Lizzo of drawing attention to her weight gain after noticing it at the SXSW film festival, reportedly observing that she seemed “less committed” as a dancer. “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,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, Ron Zambrano, said in a press release.

On the European leg of the tour, Lizzo reportedly invited her dancers to a strip club in Amsterdam called Bananenbar, and although not mandatory, the plaintiffs alleged that attending these extracurricular events meant better treatment and overall job security. At the club on Feb. 23, Lizzo allegedly “began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas,” per the suit. “Lizzo then turned her attention to Ms. Davis and began pressuring Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women.”

After Davis initially refused, Lizzo allegedly began a chant, growing louder and louder and “demanding a visibly uncomfortable Ms. Davis to engage with the performer.” The suit noted that “plaintiffs were aghast with how little regard Lizzo showed for the bodily autonomy of her employees and those around her, especially in the presence of many people whom she employed.”

The lawsuit also made note of alleged discrepancies in treatment based on race, saying Lizzo and her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. (BGBT), treated dancers of color differently than others. “BGBT’s management team consisted entirely of white Europeans who often accused the Black members of the dance team of being lazy, unprofessional, and having bad attitudes,” the suit alleged. “Only the dance cast — comprised of full-figured women of color — were ever spoken to in this manner, giving Plaintiffs the impression that these comments were charged with racial and fat-phobic animus.”

Williams was fired in late April due to “budget cuts.” On May 3, Davis was also fired after recording a meeting between the dancers and Lizzo. Frustrated with how Williams and Davis were treated, Rodriguez resigned and said this triggered a negative reaction from Lizzo.

“Lizzo aggressively approached Ms. Rodriquez, cracking her knuckles, balling her fists, and exclaiming, ‘You’re lucky. You’re so f*cking lucky!’ Ms. Rodriguez feared that Lizzo intended to hit her and would have done so if one of the other dancers had not intervened,” the suit said. “Neither security nor management did anything to de-escalate the situation. As Lizzo left the room, she raised both her middle fingers and yelled, ‘Bye, b*tch!'”

Representatives for Lizzo did not immediately respond to POPSUGAR’s request for comment.

Source link