Three women who used to perform as backup dancers for Lizzo have filed a wide-ranging lawsuit against the singer and her touring company, alleging sexual harassment and hostile work conditions.
Plaintiffs Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez filed the suit in Los Angeles Tuesday (August 1st). Via Billboard, it claims that Lizzo (born Melissa Jefferson) had pressured the dancers to attend a sex show in Amsterdam’s Red Light District and engage with the performers in an obscene fashion.
“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,” the lawsuit claims. “Lizzo then turned her attention to Ms. Davis and began pressuring Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women performing at the club.”
After Lizzo reportedly started a chant for Davis to touch the performer, Davis eventually “acquiesced in an attempt to bring an end to the chants.”
The suit also claims that Lizzo and other staffers implied to Davis that she “needed to explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job,” although they “never explicitly stated it.”
In a statement to Billboard, the plaintiffs’ attorney Ron Zambrano said: “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.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit cites the captain of Lizzo’s dance team, alleging that she forced her religious beliefs on the plaintiffs and engaged in other behavior made them uncomfortable, including incendiary comments about their sex lives and simulating oral sex on a banana in front of them.
UPDATE: More of Lizzo’s former dancers took to their Instagram stories to say that the allegations detailed in the lawsuit were “very much [their] experience.”
Just weeks ago, Lizzo took to social media to vent about her own experiences with fatphobia in the music industry.
Lizzo's dancer and creative director
posting this on their ig story 😬 pic.twitter.com/xjyryQpI5C
— I_just_ship_people (@ijustshippeople) August 1, 2023