Lizzo releases 1st statement on lawsuit, calling allegations 'unbelievable' and 'outrageous'

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Thursday, August 3, 2023
Lizzo releases 1st statement on lawsuit, calling allegations 'unbelievable' and 'outrageous'
Lizzo is responding to allegations of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment after three of her former dancers sued her on Tuesday.

In her first statement on the matter, Grammy-award winner Lizzo is responding to allegations from three former dancers of sexual harassment and that her production company created a hostile work environment.

Lizzo posted on Instagram Thursday morning that the last few days had been "gut wrenchingly difficult" and "overwhelming disappointing."

"Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous not to be addressed," she wrote.

The civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court claims Lizzo pressured the dancers to engage with nude performers at a club in Amsterdam and shamed one of them for her weight gain before firing her.

ORIGINAL STORY: Lizzo sued by former dancers, accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment

Plaintiffs Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez make numerous claims including sexual, religious and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault and false imprisonment.

The legal complaint seeks unspecified damages and names Melissa Viviane Jefferson, known professionally as Lizzo, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., and Shirlene Quigley, captain of the performer's dance team.

Two of Lizzo's former backup dancers spoke out at a news conference after filing a lawsuit that accuses the Grammy-winning singer of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

The court filing claims that after performing a concert in Amsterdam, Lizzo and her crew attended a sexually themed show at a club in the city's notorious Red Light District where "Lizzo began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers." During the show, Lizzo led a chant pressuring Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women performing at the club, the filing states.

"Finally, the chorus became overwhelming, and a mortified Ms. Davis acquiesced in an attempt to bring an end to the chants," the complaint states. "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."

Lizzo said in her statement that "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."

"As an artist I have always been very passionate about what I do. I take my music and performances seriously because at the end of the day I only want to put out the best art that represents me and my fans," she continued. "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 of the team."

She also added that though she is very open with her sexuality, "I cannot accept or allow people to use that openness to make me out to be something I am not."

Lizzo, who routinely champions body positivity, is also accused of calling out Davis for her weight gain after accusing the dancer of not being committed to her role. Davis was fired in May for recording a meeting during which Lizzo had given out notes to dancers about their performances, according to the complaint.

Quigley, who served as a judge on the singer's reality show "Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls," is accused in the lawsuit of pushing her Christian beliefs onto dancers. The court filing claims Quigley referred to Davis as a "non-believer" and told co-workers that "No job and no one will stop me from talking about the Lord."

"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," she explained. "I'm hurt but I will not let the good work I've done in the world be overshadowed by this."

You can read the full statement on Lizzo's Instagram page.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.