In a shocking development, international pop star Lizzo is facing a lawsuit filed by three former dancers who have made grave accusations, including sexual harassment and the creation of a hostile work environment.
Legal action has been initiated against Lizzo, her dance captain, and her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring (BGBT), with allegations spanning the period from 2021 to 2023. The former dancers claim they were subjected to sexual, religious, and racial harassment, in addition to facing discrimination, assault, and false imprisonment.
One of the most concerning claims against Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, revolves around an incident in a nightclub in Amsterdam. According to the lawsuit, Lizzo allegedly pressured a dancer named Ms. Davis to touch another performer’s breasts. Ms. Davis apparently resisted initially but ultimately felt compelled to comply due to concerns about her future with the team.
Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that both Lizzo and dance choreographer Tanisha Scott engaged in weight-shaming towards Ms. Davis during their tour. The dancers assert that Lizzo and Scott questioned Ms. Davis’s commitment to her role, using her weight gain as a thinly veiled reason.
In addition to these distressing claims, the lawsuit accuses BGBT staff of subjecting the dance cast, which primarily consisted of full-figured women of color, to scolding for “unacceptable and disrespectful” behavior, implying racial and fat-phobic bias.
The legal action also targets the dance team’s captain, Shirlene Quigley, accusing her of imposing her Christian beliefs on performers and publicly discussing the virginity of one of the former dancers on social media.
Apart from the harassment allegations, the dancers claim they were not adequately compensated during certain phases of Lizzo’s European tour. They assert that they were offered only 25% of their regular pay during non-performance periods, while other performers received 50%. Moreover, they allegedly faced restrictions on working on other projects while on tour.
The three former dancers, Ms. Davis, Ms. Williams, and Ms. Rodriguez, initially crossed paths with Lizzo in March 2021 while preparing for the reality TV show “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.” However, subsequent events saw Ms. Davis and Ms. Williams being terminated from the dance team, while Ms. Rodriguez resigned, citing mistreatment of her fellow colleagues.
Lizzo and the individuals named in the lawsuit have not yet issued public responses to the allegations, leaving the matter to be resolved through the legal process and further investigations.