Lizzo Makes Legal Push Against Dancers' Allegations

Singer asks judge to dismiss 'ridiculous' lawsuit on alleged toxic workplace, sexual harassment
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2023 9:29 AM CDT
Updated Sep 30, 2023 7:00 AM CDT
Lizzo: Lawsuit Allegations Are False and 'Outrageous'
Lizzo performs with backup dances at the United Center on May 17, 2023, in Chicago.   (Photo by Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP, File)
UPDATE Sep 30, 2023 7:00 AM CDT

Lizzo has called accusations by three dancers that she created a toxic workplace "unbelievable." Now, the singer has asked a judge to dismiss what her legal team calls a "ridiculous" lawsuit by those ex-employees, per NBC News. "This is the first step of a legal process in which Lizzo and her team will demonstrate that they have always practiced what they've preached—whether it comes to promoting body positivity, leading a safe and supportive workplace, or protecting individuals from any kind of harassment," a rep from her legal team said of the Wednesday filing in Los Angeles County Superior Court. "Any and all claims to the contrary are ridiculous." A lawyer for dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez dismissed the filing as having "boilerplate objections that have nothing to do with the case." Variety reports that attorney Marty Singer will represent Lizzo.

Aug 3, 2023 9:29 AM CDT

After a "gut-wrenchingly difficult" few days, Lizzo has responded to allegations that she created a toxic workplace for her backup dancers. Three former backup dancers—Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez—sued the singer and rapper, her production company, and a dance team captain on Tuesday, claiming Lizzo pressured employees to take part in lewd acts at a club, made sexually inappropriate comments, discriminated against Black dancers, and criticized a dancer for gaining weight. "Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed," Lizzo wrote in a Thursday statement, per CNN.

"These sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional," Lizzo wrote. The suit claims Lizzo's staffers scolded dancers for "unacceptable and disrespectful" behavior, without fully explaining what the problem was. As the BBC reports, Davis and Wiliams—who joined the dance team through the Amazon reality show Watch Out for the Big Grrrls—were ultimately fired, while Rodriguez later resigned over the alleged treatment of her fellow dancers.

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"I know what it feels like to be body shamed on a daily basis, and would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight," continued Lizzo, who is considered something of a spokesperson for body positivity. "Sometimes I have to make hard decisions but it's never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable, or like they aren't valued as an important part of the team." She said she wasn't trying to paint herself as a victim, "but I also know that I am not the villain that people in the media have portrayed me to be these last few days." "I am hurt, but I will not let the good work I've done in the world be overshadowed by this," she concluded. (Read more Lizzo stories.)

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