Crime & Justice

Dancers sue Lizzo over hostile work environment, sexual harassment

Los Angeles, US, Aug 1 (EFE).- Three of Lizzo’s former dancers filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the American singer and her company of creating a hostile work environment through sexual, religious and racial harassment between 2021 and 2023.

The lawsuit was lodged in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against Melissa Jefferson (Lizzo), Big Grrrl Touring, Inc. and dance team captain Shirlene Quigley by the singer’s former dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodríguez.

According to the lawsuit, Lizzo, known as an advocate of body positivity and self love, “interrogated” a dancer about her weight gain, and on another occasion pressured the same dancer to touch a nude performer at an Amsterdam strip club despite her protests, and accused dancers of drinking before performances.

Performers also felt pressured to participate in a nude photo shoot and were subjected to an “excruciating” 12-hour audition in which one dancer soiled her underwear fearing she would lose her job if she left to use the bathroom, the suit said.

In addition, it alleged that Williams, Davis and other Black members of the team were derided as lazy, unprofessional, “snarky” and having a bad attitude, while none of these were leveled against non-Black dancers.

Quigley is accused of trying to force plaintiffs to conform to her Christian beliefs, deriding those having sex before marriage, making repeated sexually explicit comments, simulating oral sex, sharing lewd sexual fantasies and discussing one of the dancer’s virginity.

Another complaint centered around dancers asking the company’s management team for retainers in exchange for being expected not to work elsewhere, a request that was met with an offer of half of what they asked for and comments “charged with racial and fat-phobic animus,” the document said.

The lawsuit also alleges that Davis was berated and then fired for recording a meeting, then later held against her will in a hotel room until she submitted to a search of her phone and iCloud storage. Rodríguez resigned in solidarity with her. Williams was fired citing budget cuts that did not affect other professionals, it added.

The lawsuit did not specify a monetary amount being sought. EFE


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