Lizzo Lawsuit Sheds Light on Workplace Relationships in Entertainment

Photo posted by @thebiggrrrls

Grammy award-winning artist, Lizzo is not unfamiliar with controversy but has recently found herself facing a new lawsuit that levels serious allegations. The lawsuit filed by three of Lizzo’s former dancers includes claims that Lizzo created a hostile working environment and sexual harassment. These allegations offer a different truth from the brand of body positivity and empowerment Lizzo has cultivated her career around. 

While many celebrities have faced similar allegations, this lawsuit sheds light on the treatment of additional artists– such as dancers, background singers, support staff, etc.– and many artists’ poor working conditions and abuses. 

The Allegations Broken Down:

Former dancers and current plaintiffs – Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis and Noelle Rodriguez – filed a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Lizzo, her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc., and dance team captain Shirlene Quigley. 

Photo posted by @freakin_noelle/@aridavis5678/@ cryssiedenise
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The misconduct claims include that Lizzo made statements that were viewed as thinly veiled comments about a dancer’s weight gain, grueling rehearsals that resulted in one dancer soiling herself, false imprisonment and pressured dancers into unwanted sexual situations

Lizzo has all but rejected such claims and pushed back against the allegations in an Instagram post, claiming the allegations are as

“unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.” 

The allegations made against all three defendants include a hostile work environment that featured sexual harassment, a failure to prevent or remedy sexual harassment in the workplace, and a failure to prevent or remedy religious harassment in the workplace.

Photo posted by @thebiggrrrls on Instagram

All these women have said that they felt at the time that they had to comply with the requests of their employer regardless of how it made them feel. One of those requests included pressure from Lizzo to attend a performance with nude dancers in Amsterdam, to eat bananas placed in nude dancers’ genitals and pressure – in one situation– to touch a fellow dancer’s breasts.

In regard to the allegations surrounding religious harassment, the suit highlights how Captain Shirlene Quigley extensively spoke on her Christian beliefs and berated those who didn’t align with those beliefs.  Claims that dancers were pressured into participating in group Christian prayer and that one of the plaintiffs’ virginity was frequently discussed without her consent. 

In an interview with Good Morning America with all three of the plaintiffs, Arianna Davis said when asked what she would say to Lizzo if she ever saw her again: “ I don’t have any mal intentions towards you, I know you don’t believe me, but I am telling the truth even now. I just want you to learn from this. If you were me what would you have said? What would you have done? What would you have felt?” 

As the legal battle unfolds, it remains to be seen how the court will weigh the allegations against Lizzo and her team. This case highlights the importance of fair treatment for dancers and other artists in the music industry and serves as a reminder that behind the glitz and glamour, there are often serious labor violations and issues that need addressing.

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