Berkeley, CA — As a number of former dancers are currently suing Lizzo and her production team in Los Angeles Superior Court, she is being represented by lawyer Marty Singer, a high profile Hollywood attorney, who has also represented Bill Cosby, Johnny Depp, Chris Brown, and Jonah Hill.
The “Truth Hurts” singer is accused of creating a sexually hostile working environment for members of her dance team. Fans were quick to voice surprise and disappointment online, where she has previously been praised for her unequivocal message of self love and empowerment. Lizzo’s top fan pages are stepping away from all platforms as well, facing an increased amount of hatred and negativity.
The suit alleges that the three plaintiffs, Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis and Noelle Rodriguez, faced a wide range of violations of California law. “Harassment was so severe or pervasive that it altered the terms and conditions of Plaintiffs’ employment, creating a hostile, abusive work environment and making their working conditions intolerable.”
Recently, a lawyer representing the victims told Billboard the team had received contact from six additional people. “Noelle, Crystal and Arianna have bravely spoken out and shared their experiences, opening the door for others to feel empowered to do the same. Some of the claims we are reviewing involve allegations of a sexually charged environment and failure to pay employees and may be actionable, but it is too soon to say.”
One of the main allegations against the Detroit native stems from a trip to Amsterdam’s famous Red Light district. During a night on the town, the dancers allege they were pressured by Lizzo to interact with a number of female dancers in an overtly sexual manner. “By not attending, dancers not only risked losing out on being selected for these additional shows—and therefore additional income — but also risked being ostracised from the group, putting their continued employment on tour in jeopardy.”
Lizzo’s dance captain was accused of repeatedly proselytising her religious beliefs. Shirlene Quigley “took every opportunity to proselytise to any and all in her presence regardless of protestations.” Quigley quickly took to social media to address the allegations. “Ms. Quigley’s sexually inappropriate behaviour did not stop at faux fellatio,” begins one paragraph of the suit, followed by a graphic example of the dance captain oversharing intimate and inappropriate information.
It’s giving notes app apology.
Lizzo provided a statement by way of the Notes app. It didn’t do much to quell fans’ concerns or bolster her reputation. It felt like deflection in parts, and did not by name address her dance captain or the trip to Amsterdam. The statement is clearly meant to bolster her marketable brand and image, but in the court of public opinion, she is losing, at least for now.
Big Grrrl Dancers are standing behind Lizzo.
Willow Thomas (she/they/he) is a Berkeley, California-based arts and culture journalist. Follow them on Instagram at @thecurlythomas.
Edited by Nykeya Woods