American singer, Lizzo is facing fresh allegations of a ‘sexually charged environment’ from at least six more people who toured with her.
Attorneys representing three of Lizzo’s former back-up dancers who filed a lawsuit over claims of weight shaming and sexual harassment at work claimed at least six other people have since submitted complaints directed at the singer.
Ron Zambrano, a lawyer whose practice specializes in employment law and is representing back-up dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez said his firm is now looking into the new complaints.
Zambrano told NBC News the allegations were made by six people who claimed to have toured with Lizzo, either as back-up dancers or on the popstar’s Amazon studios show, describing the complaints as centering around an alleged ‘sexually charged environment’ on Lizzo’s tour, and failure to pay employees.
It comes after dancers Davis, Williams, and Rodriguez sat down for an interview with Good Morning America last week in which they branded the 35-year-old pop star ‘fat-phobic’ and shared sad stories from their time touring with their former employer.
Lizzo has strenuously denied the claims made by her former dancers.
‘I know it’s alarming to hear that Lizzo, a plus-size woman who preaches body positivity, would be fat-phobic, essentially. But I want to challenge people to understand that hurt people hurt people,’ Davis said.
Rodriguez meanwhile recounted the moment Lizzo allegedly threatened her, after she told her she wanted to resign because she felt ‘unsafe’ and ‘disrespected’.
‘She basically started to ball up her fists and crack her knuckles, and she was like “You’re so effin lucky right now” as she’s like inching her way towards me.’
Rodriguez then claimed Lizzo’s best friend jumped off the couch and had to physically restrain her.
Davis also teared up while describing the incident when Lizzo allegedly pressured her into touching a nude performer at a sex show in Amsterdam.
‘She started a chant, after I said “no” multiple times,’ Davis said, explaining how Lizzo began to chant her name, “Ari”.
‘I briefly touched the performer and withdrew my hands, and you know, everyone kind of burst into laughter ’cause me of all people they thought it was funny that I was touching this performer.
‘I kind of laugh it off,’ she said, as her voice cracked. ‘Sorry, I’m a little emotional about it.
‘I even remember making jokes about it because I just was trying to get the attention away from me.’
When the interviewer asked if she could not have left earlier, Davis replied, ‘We’re here because we want to be good enough for Lizzo.’
The dancers also claimed they felt like their job was always on the line.
‘Our jobs are always being threatened. I personally never had job security in this whole – this whole entire time,’ Davis said.
She and Williams were fired, while Rodriguez resigned in what she claims was a response to the pair’s alleged treatment.
In her statement addressing the allegations, Lizzo wrote: ‘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.
‘l 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.’
In their Good Morning America interview, the dancers addressed Lizzo’s response, with Davis stating: ‘This post felt like a punch.’
Williams expressed disappointment that Lizzo did not provide ‘acknowledgement of our feelings when her brand is to preach about women empowerment’.
‘I’m honestly mind blown at the hypocrisy just of everything that you stand for. You’re contradicting right before our very eyes,’ she said.
Rodriguez added: ‘For the many women that have – because it’s mainly women – that have come forward and said they felt the same, or have shared their stories with us because they don’t want to publicly share it yet, it completely kind of invalidates all of our experience and our trauma and our pain.’
In their lawsuit, Davis, Williams, and Rodriguez accused the Grammy-winning singer – as well as the Big Grrrl Big Touring and dance team captain Shirlene Quigley – of creating a ‘sexually charged and uncomfortable’ work environment.
The trio claim that, while on a concert trip with the artist to Amsterdam in February 2023, Lizzo invited them for a night out on the town that ended in the city’s Red Light District.
They said in their filing: ‘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.’
The dancers added Lizzo allegedly ‘pressured’ and ‘goaded’ Arianna into touching one of the nude performers’ breasts.