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Lizzo Sued By Former Dancers For Weight Shaming, Sexual Harassment, Hostile Workplace Environment

Wide-ranging lawsuit alleges a litany of extraordinary behavior by singer
(Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Lizzo, whose reputation and public visibility has been based on espousing body positivity, inclusiveness, and respect for others, is being sued by three of her former dancers for behaving in the exact opposite way.

Not your best day at work.

Plaintiffs Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams, who were contestants on Lizzo’s reality TV show Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, and Noelle Rodriguez, who appeared in the singer’s “Rumors” video, began working for Lizzo in 2021. They allege sexual, religious, and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault, and false imprisonment, among other things. Not all of the claims pertain to each plaintiff.

In the suit, which names Lizzo and her Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. as defendants, the women accuse her of pressuring them to touch nude dancers at a strip club in Amsterdam’s Red Light District in 2021. Davis says Lizzo invited “cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.”

Davis also said Lizzo “goaded” her into touching one of the performers’ breasts, claiming that when she declined, Lizzo started a chant that “grew louder and more strident, demanding a visibly uncomfortable Ms. Davis to engage with the performer” before Davis “acquiesced in an attempt to bring an end to the chants.”

The lawsuit asserts Lizzo called attention to a dancer’s weight following a South by Southwest performance. Though the lawsuit says that she “never explicitly stated it,” Lizzo’s comments gave the impression that Davis “needed to explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job.”

An incredible claim in the legal action concerns Shirlene Quigley, the captain of Lizzo’s dance team. Quigley is a Christian, who allegedly constantly proselytized her faith to the dancers, despite how uncomfortable this made them, and, to quote the complaint, when Quigley discovered that Davis was a virgin, “Ms. Davis’s virginity became a topic of extreme importance to Ms. Quigley. In the months to follow, Ms. Quigley would routinely bring up Ms. Davis’s virginity in conversations with Ms. Davis. Ms. Quigley even mentioned Ms. Davis’s virginity in interviews she participated in and later posted to social media, broadcasting an intensely personal detail about Ms. Davis to the world.”

Contestants for Lizzo’s reality show were told they had to be photographed nude. “Ms. Davis broke down in tears on set while struggling to choose between a once in a lifetime career opportunity and putting her body on display against her will,” the lawsuit states. Quigley continued preaching Christianity and sexuality, and derided those who engaged in premarital sex while “oversharing her masturbatory habits and sex life with her husband”, according to the complaint. Talk about TMI!

The suit further says that Big Grrrl Big Touring company “treated the black members of the dance team differently than other members,” including alleging that they were “being lazy, unprofessional, and having bad attitudes”

Davis and Williams were fired and Rodriguez resigned because of the pop star’s behavior. They are seeking damages for emotional distress, unpaid wages, loss of earnings, and attorney’s fees.

We have reached out to Lizzo’s reps for comment.

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