Singer Lizzo is being sued by three of her former dancers for sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment, according to a suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday on their behalf.
The suit, obtained by Fox News Digital, also alleges the plaintiffs were pressured to touch a nude performer at an Amsterdam nightclub, endure an “excruciating” audition after claims of unprofessionalism and drinking on the job, and that they were prevented from finding work outside the tour.
Representatives for Lizzo did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
“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,” the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Ron Zambrano, said in a statement.
Two of the plaintiffs, Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams, began working with Lizzo after competing on her Amazon reality show, “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” in 2021, and were later fired, according to the suit.
The third plaintiff, Noelle Rodriguez, was hired the same year after performing in the music video for Lizzo’s song “Rumors” and later resigned.
Davis claims she was questioned about her body after a performance at the South by Southwest festival, saying comments about her seeming “less committed” to her role on tour were “thinly veiled concerns” about her gaining weight.
Lizzo, born Melissa Jefferson, is described as “relentless” in her questioning, as well as in other instances in the suit, particularly a night out in Amsterdam’s red-light district after a performance.
While there, she allegedly pressured Davis and others into touching the nude performers, which they say they did because they felt refusing may have hurt their employment. The suit also claimed Lizzo “badgered” a security guard into going onstage, where she pulled his pants down, and he was then whipped by the performers.
“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 complaint states.
There was also an alleged re-auditioning process that came after rumors of supposed unprofessionalism and false accusations of drinking before shows, the plaintiffs claim.
Shortly after this process, Davis claims she was fired for recording audio of rehearsal notes that she later deleted. Williams was previously let go “under the guise of budget cuts.”
The complaint says Rodriguez resigned after speaking up during one of the rehearsals and nearly became involved in an altercation with Lizzo.
“Lizzo aggressively approached Ms. Rodriquez, cracking her knuckles, balling her fists, and exclaiming, ‘You’re lucky. You’re so f—ing lucky!’ Ms. Rodriguez feared that Lizzo intended to hit her and would have done so if one of the other dancers had not intervened,” the complaint states. “Neither security nor management did anything to de-escalate the situation. As Lizzo left the room, she raised both her middle fingers and yelled, ‘Bye, b—-!’”
The suit claims Davis was forced to stay behind in her room after her recording was discovered, leading to a false imprisonment allegation.
Lizzo’s dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, is also listed in the filing and alleged to have pushed her religious beliefs on performers while simultaneously shaming those who disagreed. She also allegedly shared her own sexual fantasies and practices with the dancers and routinely discussed the virginity of one of the plaintiffs, Davis.
The suit does not specify if Lizzo knew about the claims against Quigley.
The overall business relationship between the dancers and management was tense as well, according to the suit, with claims they were put on “soft holds” that prevented them from seeking work during downtime while working on The Special Tour with Lizzo.
Initially, they said they were not paid for the times they weren’t working, unlike other members of the tour who received a retainer.
After the completion of the European leg of the tour, Lizzo’s production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., agreed to a 50% retainer.
“Specifically, BGBT management treated the Black members of the dance team differently than other members. BGBT’s management team consisted entirely of white Europeans who often accused the Black members of the dance team of being lazy, unprofessional, and having bad attitudes,” according to the lawsuit.
“Not only do these words ring familiar as tropes used to disparage and discourage Black women from advocating for themselves, but the same accusations were not levied against dancers who are not Black.”
“Only the dance cast — comprised of full-figured women of color — were ever spoken to in this manner, giving Plaintiffs the impression that these comments were charged with racial and fat-phobic animus.”
The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified dollar amount for damages that cover emotional distress, unpaid wages, loss of earnings and attorney’s fees.