Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Former Dancers Allege Sexual, Religious, and Racial Harassment by Lizzo and Team

Raph_PHCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Grammy-winning artist Lizzo, 35, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, is facing a civil lawsuit filed by three former dancers, Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday, accuses Lizzo of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment during their employment.

According to the legal complaint, Lizzo allegedly pressured the dancers to engage with nude performers at a club in Amsterdam after a concert. The dancers claim that during a sexually themed show in the city's Red Light District, she led a chant pressuring one of them, Davis, to touch the breasts of one of the nude performers. The plaintiffs state that they were dismayed by the lack of regard Lizzo showed for their bodily autonomy and those around them, especially considering they were employees of the singer.

The lawsuit further alleges numerous charges, including sexual, religious, and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault and false imprisonment against Lizzo and her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. Additionally, the suit names Shirlene Quigley, captain of the star's dance team, as a defendant.

Specific accusations against Lizzo include overworking the dancers and subjecting them to an "excruciating" 12-hour rehearsal, where those she was dissatisfied with were allegedly fired and sent home. One dancer claims to have been fired for challenging Lizzo's assertion that the group was drinking before performances, while another alleges being dismissed after recording a meeting while suffering from an eye condition.

The legal filing also accuses Lizzo of coercing one of the dancers into touching a woman's breast at a strip club, despite the dancer expressing opposition. Moreover, the singer is said to have invited her dancers to a nude cabaret bar without disclosing the nature of the performance.

In addition to the allegations against Lizzo, Quigley is accused of attempting to convert the dancers to her religion, scolding them for engaging in pre-marital sex and discussing masturbation and sexual fantasies with the group.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and highlights the need for accountability and fair treatment within the entertainment industry. Lizzo's legal team has yet to respond publicly to the allegations.

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