American singer, Lizzo has been sued by three of her former backup dancers who accused the singer of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
The singer, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, faces a legal battle after the dancers alleged she commented on their weight and pressured one to touch a nude performer in a strip club.
The plaintiffs – her former dancers – are named in the lawsuit as Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez. Williams and Davis both appeared on the recent Amazon Prime reality show ‘Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls’ – about the singer’s quest to find backup dancers.
They accused the famous singer of ‘inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers,’ inside an Amsterdam strip club, the suit states.
She allegedly encouraged ‘catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.’
The ‘About Damn Time’ singer, 35, is known for her gregarious body positivity, but the lawsuit paints her in a much different light.
Ron Zambrano, the women’s lawyer, said in the suit, revealed first by NBC News: ‘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.’
Lizzo is not the only named defendant in the case, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday.
Her dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, is also facing a slew of accusations.
Quigley, according to the lawsuit, shared ‘lewd sexual fantasies,’ and publicly discussed the virginity of one of the plaintiffs while berating those who had had pre-marital sex.
The complaints for all damages include: Hostile work environment, sexual harassment, religious harassment, racial harassment, disability discrimination, and failure to prevent or remedy the harassment.
Lizzo is specifically accused of disability discrimination, creating a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and failing to stop said issues.
Her touring company Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. is also named as a defendant.
Inside the Amsterdam strip joint, Lizzo allegedly ‘turned her attention to Ms. Davis and began pressuring Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women.’
Davis refused multiple times, while the popstar allegedly chanted louder and louder to encourage her to do the act, the lawsuit claimed. Davis eventually did touch the performer.
‘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 filing read.
In another instance, the plaintiffs claim Lizzo invited the dancers to a club in Paris – but failed to mention that it was a nude cabaret bar. This ‘shocked’ the dancers, who said Lizzo ‘robbed them of the choice not to participate,’ the suit said.
Lizzo also allegedly made a claim the dancers were drinking before performances, which Williams then spoke out about. The popstar allegedly made the group go through an ‘excruciating’ 12-hour rehearsal.
Williams lost her job days after, the lawsuit claimed.
Davis, meanwhile, soiled her pants during the intense rehearsal because she was so fearful she’d lose her job, the documents state. She was then handed a see-through outfit with no undergarments to finish the performance, the suit said.
Rodriguez complained to a manager about the decision to publicly fire Williams, after Lizzo had told the group she had ‘eyes and ears everywhere.’
Davis recorded the meeting on April 27, because she claimed she suffers from an eye condition that leaves her disoriented.
But as a result, Lizzo held a meeting and had security confiscate dancers’ phones, the lawsuit claimed.
‘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 filing contended.
When Davis tried to tell Lizzo and Quigley she meant no harm recording the meeting, they berated her and Lizzo fired her on the spot, the suit read.
Rodriguez then expressed how she felt disrespected and threatened to resign – to which Lizzo said she was ‘lucky.’
When Rodriguez did indeed quit, Lizzo showed her two middle fingers and yelled a slur at her, the lawsuit claimed.