Lizzo in a Storm: Former Dancers Report Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

Three of Lizzo’s former dancers have filed a lawsuit against the singer, accusing her of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment after incidents that allegedly occurred starting in 2021 and continuing into 2023. The charges stem from the plaintiffs’ participation in a reality show that gave them the opportunity to join Lizzo as a dance troupe during performances and tours.

All three plaintiffs—Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis and Noelle Rodriguez—performed with Lizzo at festivals and performances from September 2021 to April 2022 during Special tourand continued performing in 2023 during the European stage. Lizzo (real name Melissa Vivian Jefferson), her production company and Shirlene Quigley are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The dancers claim that Lizzo, a champion of body positivity throughout her career, also made comments about the dancer’s weight gain.

Charged alongside singer Shirlene Quigley, director of Lizzo’s dance group, who allegedly tried to convert the three to her religion and also berated them for premarital sex. Meanwhile, the lawsuit says Quigley “made comments ridiculing people who engage in premarital sex, knowing that some members of the dance troupe did not share his views. The girl also simulated oral sex on a banana in front of the rest of the actors. Spontaneous gestures that caused the plaintiffs discomfort.”

But the accusations against the choreographer didn’t end there: there were other sexually inappropriate comments and behavior, including discussions about masturbation and sharing sexual fantasies. The lawsuit alleges that Quigley openly discussed the dancer’s virginity while filming the reality show. Beware of the Big Grrrls and also shared this information on social networks and in some interviews without her consent.

During a stopover in Amsterdam in February 2023, the two plaintiffs were allegedly invited to a party in the red light district, where they and Lizzo went to a strip club. There, the indictment alleges the group pressured Davis to touch a stripper’s breasts against her will.

When the three came together to demand a deposit for their work, they were reportedly reprimanded by one of the team members for their “unacceptable and disrespectful behavior” and that this was grounds for termination. At one point, they were asked to re-audition after being accused of being drunk. Davis, who suffers from anxiety, according to the lawsuit, was so afraid of being fired that she stayed in rehearsals for eight hours straight and ended up pissing herself. Despite the accident, she will be asked to continue.

Davis also claims that Lizzo talked about her weight gain and that she was fired for recording the meeting because an eye problem prevented her from being physically present. Shortly after the recording, Lizzo allegedly asked security to confiscate the dancers’ phones.

“Lizzo became enraged, cursing and declaring that she would walk around the room, person after person, until someone told Lizzo who made the recording.” Davis admitted she recorded the encounter, but said she explained that she didn’t mean to hurt Lizzo and that the video had been deleted.

Meanwhile, Lizzo’s representatives have not yet responded.

This article was translated by Rolling Stone USA.

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