Lizzo responds to hostile work environment, sexual harassment suit

  • 3 of Lizzo's former dancers say the singer created hostile work environment
  • They say she physically threatened, shamed them for gaining weight
  • Lizzo denied these claims in a statement posted on social media

Lizzo (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

(NewsNation) — Pop singer Lizzo responded Thursday to allegations made by by three former dancers who say she weight-shamed, physically threatened them and created an “overtly sexual” and hostile work environment.

A civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court claims Lizzo pressured the dancers to engage with nude performers at an Amsterdam Club and shamed one of them for her gaining weight before firing her.

Other charges by plaintiffs Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez include sexual, religious and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault and false imprisonment.

On X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Lizzo wrote that the last few days since the lawsuit was made public have been “gut-wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing.”

“My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized,” she said. “Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.”

Writing that she doesn’t want to be looked at as a victim, Lizzo also said she knows she is “not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days.”

Saying the dancers’ stories were “sensationalized,” Lizzo claimed her former employees were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.

Speaking out in an interview on NewsNation’s “CUOMO” Wednesday, though, Davis, Williams and Rodriguez said they experienced a number of hostile incidents while on tour.

“It was all of these different microaggressions and underlying things that were going on in our work environment that made it very hostile,” Williams told NewsNation anchor Chris Cuomo.

According to the court filing, Lizzo and her crew went to a sexually themed show at a club in Amsterdam’s notorious Red Light District, where the singer began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers. At one point, Lizzo started a chant pressuring Davis to touch one of the women’s breasts.

“Finally, the chorus became overwhelming, and a mortified Ms. Davis acquiesced in an attempt to bring an end to the chants,” the complaint states.

In another incident, Davis was pulled into a private meeting with just Lizzo and a choreographer to discuss her weight.

“They disguised this as a safe space, but really, I do believe that they just wanted me to give them a reason as to why I was fatter now,” Davis said. “I felt cornered, so I ended up telling them that I do struggle with an eating disorder, and that I am in recovery and that it has never affected my job.”

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.

Rodriguez said she was physically threatened by Lizzo the day before a show in Montreal, when she and other dancers were called into an “impromptu fitting” that was actually a meeting about Davis being fired.

As someone who knows what it feels like to be body shamed, Lizzo denied doing the same to others. She also pushed back on sexual harassment claims, saying she’s “very open” with her own sexuality, “but cannot accept or allow people to use that openness to make me out to be something I am not,” Lizzo said.

“There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world,” she added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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