Lizzo is facing multiple shocking allegations from her former employees, most of whom were her backup dancers. After three of them filed a lawsuit against the “Truth Hurts” rapper on August 1, several new claims about her arose one week later.  

Why Is Lizzo Being Sued? 

On August 1, dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court against Lizzo, accusing her of sexual harassment and creating a toxic workplace, In Touch confirmed. In their lawsuit, the three women alleged that Lizzo forced them to undergo an “excruciating” hours-long reaudition after the rapper suspected that they had been drinking on the job. Additionally, the plaintiffs claimed that they were subjected to a “sexually charged and uncomfortable environment.” 

Dance captain Shirlene Quigley was also named in the lawsuit, with the three former employees alleging that she made sexually explicit comments and harassed them on religious ground. The dance captain reportedly “made it her mission to preach” Christianity to those around her and was obsessed with Davis’ virginity, according to the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit also included claims regarding Lizzo’s production company and management team, that reportedly called the dancers “lazy, unprofressional and having bad attitudes.” The complaint highlighted the team’s all-white staff, with the three dancers asserting that the racial dynamic influenced how they were treated. 

“I do think Lizzo is enabling and enforcing a racist system,” Williams claimed after the lawsuit went public. “She has an entirely white management team, so she kind of left it up to them to have the deciding factor on how we were handled. She was always siding with them. Even though she wasn’t being racist herself, she was still enabling it, unfortunately. It’s one of those things where the oppressed then becomes the oppressor whenever they get the power to do so.” 

The former dancers further alleged in their lawsuit that the “hostile [work] environment grew worse” after they performed a show in Amsterdam in February. After their performance, the women claimed that Lizzo allegedly pressured them into a night out in the Red Light District, which is known for its nude bars and clubs and sex theaters. Though the dancers were not required to attend the evening with Lizzo, they claimed that they felt obligated because they feared they would lose their jobs. 

Lizzo singing at the Mad Cool Festival in Spain
Zed Jameson/SIPA/Shutterstock

“The main event of the night was a club called Bananenbar, where patrons are allowed to interact with completely nude performers,” the lawsuit read. “While at Bananenbar, things quickly got out of hand. Lizzo 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. Lizzo then turned her attention to Ms. Davis and began pressuring Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women performing at the club. Lizzo began leading a chant goading Ms. Davis. Ms. Davis said three times, loud enough for all to hear, ‘I’m good,’ expressing her desire not to touch the performer.”

Speaking to the alleged incident, Rodriguez shared that she as “sick to [her] stomach” for Davis, noting how “uncomfortable” she was. 

“She clearly did not want to do it,” Rodriguez continued. “But I totally understand how somebody in a position of power could have that power over somebody to make her feel like she had to.” 

Furthermore, Davis claimed that Lizzo weight-shamed her, alleging that the “Good As Hell” artist berated the dance team during a meeting held in April and later fired Davis after accusing her of not being committed to the group. Davis recorded the April meeting, which allegedly infuriated Lizzo. 

“Lizzo became furious, hurling expletives at the group and stated that she was going to go around the room, person-by-person until someone told Lizzo who made the recording,” the lawsuit claims.

Within the lawsuit, both Williams and Davis claimed they were wrongfully fired, while Rodriguez maintains that she resigned from her position in support of her colleagues. 

How Did Lizzo React to Her Dancers’ Allegations? 

Two days after the lawsuit was filed against her, Lizzo broke her silence on the situation in an Instagram post. In her note, the Grammy Award winner noted that the employees who are suing her “have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.” Lizzo also emphasized that “as an artist,” she has “always been very passionate” about her work.

“These last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing,” Lizzo wrote in her public statement. “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.”

Shortly after Lizzo spoke out, Davis, Rodriguez and Williams doubled down on their claims against the rapper in multiple interviews. 

“It wasn’t until after the cameras stopped rolling that I really saw the other side of Lizzo and saw her for what she is because, sadly, she’s not the same behind closed doors,” Williams claimed. “When the cameras aren’t rolling, she’s not the same person everybody sees on their TV screen.”

In response, the three former dancers maintained that they are in the legal fight for the long haul. 

“We were treated poorly. Nobody did anything about it when we tried to speak up and advocate for ourselves. So, now we’re doing it,” Wiliams said on August 9. “I know that my mind feels a lot clearer. There was a lot of anxiety and a lot of feelings of being overwhelmed once our suit was made public. But today, I feel very proud to be pursing this with these ladies.” 

How Many Former Employees Are Suing Lizzo? 

Though the lawsuit started out with three dancers, Davis, Williams and Rodriguez’s lawyers claimed that they had received additional complaints against Lizzo from six other people. Some of the former employees allegedly worked with Lizzo on her reality series, Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls and complained of a “sexually charged environment” and a “failure to pay employees.” 

One of the lawyers said, however, that only some of the complaints being reviewed are “actionable, but it is too soon to say.” 

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