Weeks after dazzling Australia with her on-stage theatrics – and public act of kindness towards a young bullying victim – Lizzo has been sued by three of her former dancers.
In the legal complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday (overnight in Australia), the 35-year-old Good As Hell singer – whose legal name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson – as well as her Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. production company, and the captain of her dance team, Shirlene Quigley, have been accused of creating a hostile work environment, body-shaming and sexual harassment, among other allegations.
That’s according to Variety, which has claimed to have independently reviewed court documents where former dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez have made allegations including religious, racial and sexual harassment, assault and false imprisonment, and disability discrimination.
Neither Lizzo, Quigley nor Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. have publicly commented on the lawsuit nor the former dancers’ claims at this time.
CNN, meanwhile, claims Davis, Williams and Rodriguez’s attorney sent them the legal filing.
One accusation from Davis, Williams and Rodriguez’s lawsuit is that they allegedly were pressured, claiming they were in fear of losing their jobs, to touch dancers who were naked in Amsterdam’s Red Light District during a live sex show at club called Bananenbar.
“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 lawsuit alleges, per Variety.
According to the legal documentation, Davis alleges that Lizzo then “began pressuring” her to ”touch the breasts of one of the nude women performing at the club” and started “leading a chant goading Davis” to do so, to which, according to the lawsuit, Davis allegedly said “three times, loud enough for all to hear” that she was “good”, which expressed “her desire not to touch the performer.”
“Plaintiffs were aghast with how little regard Lizzo showed for the bodily autonomy of her employees and those around her, especially in the presence of many people whom she employed,” the lawsuit claims of the alleged incident.
It is also alleged in the lawsuit that Davis, Williams and Rodriguez were invited out by Lizzo to the nude cabaret bar without Lizzo telling them the venue was a nude cabaret bar, which they claim “robb[ed] them of the choice not to participate.”
Another accusation against Lizzo also includes an allegation that she called attention to Davis’ weight gain, which allegedly occurred after she allegedly called Davis out for not being committed enough to her job.
The lawsuit claims that Lizzo’s “questions about [Davis’] commitment to the tour were thinly veiled concerns about” her weight gain, which is something Lizzo allegedly “called attention to after noticing it at the South by Southwest music festival.”
According to the lawsuit, Lizzo “never explicitly stated it”, however the alleged comments after South by Southwest “gave [Davis] the impression that she needed to explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job.”
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Davis, according to the lawsuit, was fired in May allegedly after recording a meeting where notes to dancers had been delivered by Lizzo about their performances. Williams, meanwhile, claims she was fired publicly due to budget cuts, which happened allegedly after Williams spoke up during a meeting where Lizzo allegedly accused the dancers of drinking prior to performances.
Per the lawsuit, Rodriguez resigned due to Davis and Williams being fired, and Rodriguez had allegedly complained to management about Williams being publicly fired before her resignation.
Public firings, according to the lawsuit, were allegedly used as an “intimidation tactic” by Lizzo “repeatedly” against dancers in a meeting on April 27, during which Lizzo allegedly told the team she had ”eyes and ears everywhere.”
As for the accusations against Quigley in the lawsuit, it’s been alleged she pushed her Christian beliefs onto the dancers, allegedly referring to Davis as a “non-believer” and allegedly saying: “No job and no one will stop me from talking about the Lord.”
It’s also been alleged that after discovering Davis was a virgin, Quigley repeatedly brought the subject up in interviews and spoke about it on social media.
Lizzo, Quigley and Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. have yet to address the lawsuit and its claims.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit their website. In an emergency, call 000.