Talent Recap

Lizzo Sued by Former Dancers for Alleged Sexual Harassment, Weight-Shaming

Photo by Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic

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Three former members of Lizzo’s dance team have recently filed a case against the pop star for allegedly harassing them sexually and creating a hostile environment during work. They also purported that the body positivity advocate criticized a dancer’s weight gain. 

Lizzo Accused of Sexually Harassing, “Demoralizing” Dancers

Filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the complaint named 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 as defendants. 

The lawsuit details an incident at a club in Amsterdam while the singer was on tour last February. The singer allegedly invited dancers to “take turns touching the nude performers” during the afterparty. Afraid of Lizzo’s retaliation, the dancer eventually “acquiesced,” prompting the group to burst into laughter.

“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,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Ron Zambrano, stated.

The dancers further claimed that Lizzo accused dancers of drinking before performances last April. This has reportedly led to a tense back and forth between them. The day before the said incident, the pop singer reportedly told the dancers they would have to audition again. In consequence, the dancers suffered an “excruciating” 12-hour rehearsal.

Lawsuit Says She Body-Shamed a Tour Dancer

Furthermore, one dancer alleged that the “2 Be Loved” singer questioned her “commitment” to her dancing role. According to the complaint, Lizzo expressed “thinly veiled” concerns about the plaintiff’s “weight gain.” Such has purportedly resulted in the dancer’s feeling pressured to “explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job.”

“The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly, while privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are not only illegal but absolutely demoralizing,” Zambrano stated.

The former dancers’ claims include sexual harassment, creation of a hostile work environment, false imprisonment and interference with prospective economic advantage. Not every claim was brought against each defendant.

As of writing, Lizzo’s representatives neither confirmed nor denied the issue.

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