Lizzo on Thursday refuted claims made against her this week by three former dancers who said she fostered a hostile work environment when the singer’s Special Tour performances were being held.
In a complaint submitted on Tuesday to the Los Angeles Superior Court, the three dancers said they had been “exposed to an overtly sexual atmosphere that permeated their workplace.”
The lawsuit detailed several incidents that the dancers’ attorneys said amounted to sexual harassment and weight discrimination.
In a statement shared on social media, Lizzo stated, “Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.”
Former workers who have already publicly acknowledged that they were informed that their behavior on tour was wrong and unprofessional are the source of these sensationalized claims.
Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams, two of the plaintiffs, joined Lizzo as dancers in 2021 after competing in her reality series “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” on Amazon Prime. According to the lawsuit, Ms. Williams and Ms. Davis were let go in the spring of 2023.
Noelle Rodriguez, the third plaintiff, joined Lizzo’s dance squad and was recruited in May 2021 to appear in the music video for “Rumors” by Lizzo. According to the lawsuit, Ms. Rodriguez left shortly after Ms. Davis and Ms. Williams were let go.
In her complaint, Ms. Davis—who has a binge eating disorder—said that Lizzo’s comments to dancers left her feeling as though she needed to “explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job.”
The complaint also recounts an incident at an Amsterdam nightclub when Lizzo started urging patrons to touch naked performers and handle the dildos and bananas they used in their acts.
The lawsuit claims that despite constantly professing no desire in doing so, the dancer “acquiesced” to stroking the breast of a nude female performance out of fear of reprisal.
Lizzo stated that she took her music and performances seriously in her statement on Thursday. The statement said, “Sometimes I have to make difficult decisions, but it’s never my intention to make anyone feel uneasy or like they aren’t valued as a key member of the team.”
She also acknowledged the sexual harassment charges while vehemently refuting the notion that she had humiliated dancers because of their weight.
In the statement, it was stated, “I am extremely open about my sexuality and how I express myself, but I cannot accept or allow someone to use that openness to make me out to be something I am not. “I take nothing more seriously than the respect we as women should receive across the globe. I have experienced everyday body shaming, thus I would never make a negative comment about or fire a worker because of their weight.
Lizzo, using her real name Melissa Jefferson rather than her stage name, her production business Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc., and the tour’s dance captain Shirlene Quigley are all named as defendants in the case.
Lizzo did not respond to the accusations made against Ms. Quigley, who was charged with harassing people of faith and making sexually explicit remarks to the dancers.