Lizzo is clapping back at three of her former backup dancers, who filed a bombshell lawsuit against the About Damn Time singer and her touring company Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. earlier this week. Lizzo took to social media to address the lawsuit, calling the allegations, “false.” In the lawsuit, ex-dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez accuse Lizzo and her touring company of sexual harassment and hostile work conditions. According to the women, they were “exposed to an overtly sexual atmosphere that permeated their workplace.”
“Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed,” Lizzo said in a statement posted on social media. “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.”
Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams compete on Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrl in 2021 and were fired in 2023. According to NYT, Noelle Rodriguez was hired in 2021 to perform in Lizzo’s Rumors music video and then joined her dance team. Davis alleges, despite being portrayed as an advocate for plus-size women, Lizzo made her “explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job.”
The dancers also claim they feared losing their jobs, therefore they would participate in sexual activities despite internal hesitation. “The lawsuit also describes an episode at a nightclub in Amsterdam where Lizzo began inviting employees to touch nude performers and handle dildos and bananas used in their performances,” per NYT.
Davis claimed Lizzo became “furious’ after finding out she had recorded audio of the Grammy-winning artist giving performance notes. Davis claims she meant no harm by recording Lizzo but did so because she suffers from an eye condition. However, she deleted the audio after Lizzo was made aware of the recording.
“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 lawsuit claims. The lawsuit alleges that Lizzo and Quigley “took turns berating Ms. Davis” and fired her on the spot.
Lizzo Denies Allegations
In her social media statement, Lizzo denied wrongdoing.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
“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.”
Lizzo’s Former Director Sides With Victims
Since the three ex-dancers filed suit against Lizzo, other former employees who worked with the Rumors performer joined in to share their experience. Oscar-nominated director Sophia Nahli Allison, who signed on to direct Lizzo’s document A Love for Latasha, quit after dealing with what she described as being treated with “such disrespect.”
“I usually do not comment on anything pop culture related,” Allison wrote on Instagram and Twitter. “But, in 2019, I traveled a bit with Lizzo to be the director of her documentary. I walked away after about two weeks. I was treated with such disrespect by her. I witnessed how arrogant, unkind, and cruel she is. I was not protected and thrown into a sh*tty situation with little support. My spirit said to run as fast as you f*cking can, and I’m grateful I trusted my gut. I felt gaslit and deeply hurt, but I’ve healed.
According to Allison, others have confided in her about their similar experience working with Lizzo.
Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis, and Noelle Rodriguez Respond
During an interview on CNN This Morning, Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis, and Noelle Rodriguez responded to Lizzo denying their claims.
“I want to say that reading [Lizzo’s statement] just kind of further my furthered my like disappointment in regards to the situation, just because the facts are the facts, what we experienced and what we witnessed is absolutely what happened,” Williams said. “There’s nothing sensationalized about it. So all that I can hope is that people focus more so on the facts rather than the court of public opinion.”
“Personally, looking at the response from Lizzo was so disheartening because she was there,” Davis said. “She was there and to fix your hand, to write on a piece of paper that you discredit everything we’re saying is incredibly frustrating.”
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