Lizzo Breaks Silence On Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Lizzo has responded to the lawsuit filed by three of her former dancers. According to a complaint filed in Los Angeles court against Lizzo (real name Melissa Jefferson) and her Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc., former dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez are accusing the entertainer of multiple wrongdoings during their time of employment.
“These last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing,” Lizzo wrote in an Instagram post. “My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. Usually, I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.”
In a complaint obtained by Billboard, the dancers allege that Lizzo pressured the dancers into attending a live sex show in Amsterdam. The lawsuit details at the show, “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.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Shirlene Quigley, the captain of Lizzo’s dance team ” … forced her religious beliefs on the plaintiffs and took repeated actions that made them uncomfortable, including commenting about their sexual virginity and simulating oral sex on a banana in front of them.”
Comments about dancers’ weight were also cited in the lawsuit. Davis alleged that she thought her job was in jeopardy by gaining weight. She noted that Lizzo and others on staff “never explicitly stated it.” The lawsuit alleges she “needed to explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job.”
Lastly, discrimination was also a part of the suit. Black dancers said they were “treated differently” than dancers of other ethnicities. The Black dancers were allegedly accused of “being lazy, unprofessional, and having bad attitudes.” It stated that “none of these same allegations were leveled against dancers who are not black.”
“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,” Lizzo responded.
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“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,” she wrote. “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,” she wrote.
Lizzo continued by saying she is “not here to be looked at as a victim.”
“I also know that I am not the villain that people in the media have portrayed me to be these last few days,” she added.
“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,” Lizzo continued. “I am 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 and support to lift me up during this difficult time.”
Davis and Williams responded to Lizzo’s statement on their appearance on CNN This Morning Thursday (Aug. 3). Williams said that “there’s nothing sensationalized” about their claims. Davis agreed adding, “Personally, looking at the response from Lizzo was so disheartening because she was there.”
Take a look at Lizzo’s full post below: