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Lawsuit by former dancers accuses Lizzo of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment

Aug 1, 2023, 1:34 PM | Updated: 2:04 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lizzo has been sued by three former dancers who accuse the Grammy winner of sexual harassment and allege the singer and her production company created a hostile work environment.

The civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court claims Lizzo pressured one of the dancers to engage with nude performers at a club in Amsterdam and shamed another dancer for her weight gain before firing her.

Plaintiffs Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez make numerous charges including sexual, religious and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault and false imprisonment.

The legal complaint seeks unspecified damages and names Melissa Viviane Jefferson, known professionally as Lizzo, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., and Shirlene Quigley, captain of the performer’s dance team.

Representatives for Lizzo didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The court filing claims that after performing a concert in Amsterdam, Lizzo and her crew attended a sexually themed show at a club in the city’s notorious Red Light District. During the show, Lizzo led a chant pressuring Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women performing at the club, the filing states.

“Finally, the chorus became overwhelming, and a mortified Ms. Davis acquiesced in an attempt to bring an end to the chants,” the complaint states. “Plaintiffs were aghast with how little regard Lizzo showed for the bodily autonomy of her employees and those around her, especially in the presence of many people whom she employed.”

Lizzo, who routinely champions body positivity, is also accused of calling out Davis for her weight gain after accusing the dancer of not being committed to her role. Davis was fired in May for recording a meeting during which Lizzo had given out notes to dancers about their performances, according to the complaint.

Quigley, who served as a judge on the singer’s reality show “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” is accused in the lawsuit of pushing her Christian beliefs onto dancers. The court filing claims Quigley referred to Davis as a “non-believer” and told co-workers that “No job and no one will stop me from talking about the Lord.”

In addition, after discovering that Davis was a virgin, Quigley frequently discussed the subject, brought it up in interviews and even posted about it on social media, “broadcasting an intensely personal detail about Ms. Davis to the world,” according to the lawsuit.

Earlier this year, Lizzo won the Grammy for record of the year for her hit “About Damn Time.” A global tour supporting her fourth studio album, 2022’s “Special,” wrapped up last month.

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Lawsuit by former dancers accuses Lizzo of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment