Three of Lizzo’s former backup dancers have filed a lawsuit against the singer accusing her of sexual harassment and fostering a hostile work environment.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday (1 August), also alleges that Lizzo whose real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson pressured one of the plaintiffs into touching a nude performer at an Amsterdam strip club and orchestrated a humiliating 12-hour audition process for her dancers.
She allegedly encouraged ‘catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.
The 44-page suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court further alleges that Lizzo and her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring are responsible for assault, racial and religious harassment, fat-shaming, disability discrimination, and false imprisonment.
“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 demoralising,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, Ron Zambrano, said in a statement.
Two of the plaintiffs, Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams, began dancing for Lizzo after competing on her Amazon Prime Video reality show, Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, in 2021. The third plaintiff, Noelle Rodriguez, was hired in the same year after her performance in Lizzo’s “Rumors” music video.
Davis and Williams have since been fired, according to the suit, and Rodriguez resigned earlier this year.
Davis alleges that Lizzo and her choreographer told her she seemed “less committed” to her role after an appearance at South by Southwest (SXSW) in April, which she took to be a “thinly veiled” comment about her weight.
Lizzo is not the only named defendant in the case, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday.
Her dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, is also facing a slew of accusations.
Quigley, according to the lawsuit, shared ‘lewd sexual fantasies,’ and publicly discussed the virginity of one of the plaintiffs while berating those who had had pre-marital sex.
The complaints for all damages include: Hostile work environment, sexual harassment, religious harassment, racial harassment, disability discrimination, and failure to prevent or remedy the harassment