Responding to public skepticism of the dancers’ claims, Ron Zambrano, attorney for the dancers, said, “it’s their truth.”
“That’s something that may ring hollow to other people, but their experience is their experience,” Zambrano said Thursday on “CUOMO.” “We’ve all had the saying said to us, ‘you shouldn’t meet your heroes,’ and unfortunately for my clients, that’s what happened.”
Zambrano represents Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez, who claim they were weight-shamed and even physically threatened by Lizzo while on tour. They told NewsNation in a “CUOMO” interview Wednesday they experienced a slew of incidents that contributed to a hostile work environment.
Lizzo responded to the lawsuit for the first time publicly Thursday, writing in a statement that she doesn’t want to be looked at as a victim, but that knows she is “not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days.”
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by the three dancers, accuses Lizzo, her production company and another employee of “creating a hostile, abusive work environment and making their working conditions intolerable.”
It also alleges sexual harassment, detailing an incident at an Amsterdam nightclub.
Lizzo allegedly “began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas,” the lawsuit alleged. “Lizzo then turned her attention to Ms. Davis and began pressuring Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women.”
After Davis declined, the lawsuit alleges Lizzo led a chant goading her into doing so. After Davis acquiesced, the group burst into laughter, the suit states.
“Her own statement today talked about ‘I’m a very sexual person, I’m very open about that,’ basically saying, ‘If you want to be around me, you have deal with it,’ but you’re not supposed to deal with it in a workplace. That’s the problem,” Zambrano said, referencing a portion of Lizzo’s statement.
In it, Lizzo says “I am very open with my sexuality and expressing myself but I cannot accept or allow people to use that openness to make me out to be something I am not.”
Davis’ claims have also come under scrutiny after TMZ obtained a video of her praising Lizzo in an audition tape for season 2 of the singer’s Amazon show, “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.” The video was reportedly filmed in April 2023, two months after the Amsterdam nightclub incident.
However, Zambrano says the video came before the alleged conduct. He also echoed Davis’ explanation to TMZ that she didn’t realized how much she was “being taken advantage of” and that she “genuinely wanted to save” her job.
“All around the country, there’s a bunch of young people who don’t like their bosses, and they’re not going to burn bridges, and it happens a lot more in the entertainment industry,” Zambrano said. “But again, the timing of that, nothing happened that is in the complaint before that video was done.”
Zambrano said he had his own suspicions about the women’s claims at first, but came to believe them as he worked with them. He also claims others have come forward with similar complaints.
“There’s people calling my office that used to work with Lizzo going, ‘You know what, behind closed doors this is who Lizzo is,'” Zambrano said.
The Hill contributed to this report.