Lizzo has issued an announcement after being accused of partaking in sexual harassment and making a hostile working surroundings amongst different allegations.
The ‘Special’ pop star is being sued by three of her former backup dancers – Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez – in a lawsuit that names Lizzo, her manufacturing firm Massive Grrrl Massive Touring Inc., and her dance workforce captain Shirlene Quigley as defendants.
- READ MORE: Lizzo – ‘Special’ evaluation: joyful famous person uplifts with confident, self-empowering bops
It’s mentioned that each one three of the aforementioned performers named within the go well with danced for Lizzo till earlier this yr, when Davis and Williams have been fired earlier than Rodriguez resigned shortly afterwards.
Davis and Williams each competed on the fact TV present Watch Out For The Massive Grrrls to win the prospect to hitch the singer/rapper’s troupe of backing dancers. Rodriguez, in the meantime, started dancing with Lizzo after showing within the ‘Rumors’ music video.
The alleged incident of sexual harassment supposedly passed off in a strip membership in Amsterdam, which Lizzo and her dancers visited after a live performance within the Dutch capital this February. The dancers allege that Lizzo bullied Davis into touching a nude performer, to the purpose the place she led a chant goading her into doing so till she ultimately gave in, regardless of declining a number of occasions.
Moreover, the go well with states that 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”. It continues: “Lizzo then turned her attention to Ms. Davis and began pressuring Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women.”
Elsewhere, the three dancers accuse Lizzo of subjecting the group to an “excruciating” audition, following 12 hours of rehearsal after falsely accusing them of consuming alcohol on the job.
The go well with additionally alleges that Lizzo known as consideration to Davis’ weight achieve by telling her she was “less committed” to her function, in contradiction to the body-positive ethos the star promotes via her music and model.
Lizzo, whose actual identify is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, allegedly later berated and fired the dancer for recording a gathering due to a well being situation.
At this time (August 3), Lizzo has responded through an announcement on her official social media channels during which she claimed that the allegations are “false”.
“These last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing,” the message started. “My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized.”
Lizzo continued: “Normally I select not to reply to false allegations however these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.
“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.”
She added: “As an artist I’ve at all times been very enthusiastic about what I do. I take my music and my performances significantly as a result of on the finish of the day I solely need to put out the most effective artwork that represents me and my followers.
“With ardour comes laborious work and excessive requirements. Generally I’ve to make laborious choices nevertheless it’s by no means my intention to make anybody really feel uncomfortable or like they aren’t valued as an essential a part of the workforce.
“I am not here to be looked at as a victim, but I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days. 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.”
Lizzo went on: “There may be nothing I take extra significantly than the respect we deserve as girls on this planet. I do know what it feels wish to be physique shamed each day and would completely by no means criticize or terminate an worker due to their weight.
“I’m hurt but I will not let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time.”
The go well with additionally contains allegations of spiritual and racial harassment, false imprisonment, interference with potential financial benefit and extra. Nevertheless, these claims don’t apply to all of the defendants within the case.
A certain quantity for damages that cowl emotional misery, unpaid wages, lack of earnings and authorized charges has not been disclosed.
In an announcement supplied to NBC, the dancers’ lawyer Ron Zambrano mentioned: “The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly, while privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are not only illegal but absolutely demoralizing.”
Documentarian and photographer Sophia Nahli Allison has since mentioned that she give up a undertaking with Lizzo in 2019 after being “treated with such disrespect by her”.
“I witnessed how arrogant, self-centered, and unkind she is,” the Academy Award nominee wrote. “I was not protected and was thrown into a shitty situation with little support. My spirit said to run as fast as you fucking can and I’m so grateful I trusted my gut.”
NME has reached out to Lizzo’s representatives for remark concerning Allison’s declare.