Photo: Andy Witchger

3 Back Up Dancers Sue Lizzo For Harassment

Accusing the superstar singer of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment, three of her former backup dancers have sued Lizzo.

Filed in a Los Angeles court Tuesday (8.01,) the suit alleges that dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez were exposed to a “sexually charged and uncomfortable” work environment and that harassment was “so severe or pervasive” that it made their employment conditions “intolerable.” Davis also accused the Grammy Award winning singer of pressuring her into touching a nude performer’s breasts while in an Amsterdam night club.

On Monday (7.31,) representatives for Lizzo and Shirlene Quigley (dance captain for the singer who was also named in the suit,) did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and the musician’s production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, was also named as a defendant.

For a chance to perform with her on tour, two of the plaintiffs met Lizzo while competing on a reality TV show while the third dancer was hired separately, though all were associated with the artist from spring 2021 to early summer 2023.

The dancers state that Lizzo paid undue attention to the weight gain of one of the plaintiffs, repeatedly shouted and cursed at performers and invited them to attend events as spectators without disclosing the involvement of nudity. The filing also alleges that Williams was fired in public by an agent of Lizzo about a week after a workplace confrontation with the singer, while Davis was terminated for recording a meeting with Lizzo so that she could review it for feedback about a performance. That incident prompted Rodriguez to resign, according to the suit.

Born Melissa Viviane Jefferson, Lizzo, rose to fame in 2019 with her album “Cuz I Love You.” Following years as a successful underground singer, the Atlantic Records-signed singer has built a brand rooted in self-love and the body positivity movement and launched a shape-wear brand in 2022 with Fabletics. Also a trained flutist, Lizzo, has been outspoken about social issues such as abortion rights, discrimination against transgender people and racism in the music industry.

Said Ron Zambrano, an attorney for the plaintiffs, “The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly,”

According to the lawsuit, among other things the plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages for unpaid wages and loss of earnings and compensation for emotional distress,

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Author: Saul Goode

Photo: Andy Witchger