Lizzo Sued by Former Backup Dancers for Alleged Sexual, Racial Harassment and Hostile Work Environment
Ilana Kaplan, People August 2, 2023
Three of Lizzo’s former dancers are suing the singer for sexual and racial harassment, as well as allegedly creating a hostile work environment.
The lawsuit, provided to PEOPLE by the plaintiffs’ law firm, was filed Tuesday morning in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the singer, whose real name is Melissa Jefferson; her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc.; and Lizzo’s dance team captain, Shirlene Quigley.
In it, the dancers — Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez — alleged that they were pressured by Lizzo into touching nude performers while at a club in Amsterdam and were forced to endure weight shaming.
The dancers claimed in their complaint that at a club called Bananenbar, where attendees can interact with the nude performers, “Lizzo began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.”
Lizzo — who is known for embracing body positivity — was also accused of weight shaming by Davis.
The dancers also claimed they faced racial harassment from BGBT management, which they allege “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,” the lawsuit says. “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.”