Los Angeles, Aug 2, 2023- Pop star Lizzo is being sued by three of her former dancers over claims including sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.
The lawsuit, filed, includes accusations of sexual, religious and racial harassment, discrimination, assault and false imprisonment, reports bbc.com.
Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez are the former dancers bringing the lawsuit.
Lizzo and others who are accused have been approached for comment.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, includes allegations the dancers were “forced to endure sexually denigrating behaviour” and were “pressured into participating in disturbing sex shows” between 2021 and 2023.
Among the claims against Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, are that she “pressured Ms Davis to touch the breasts” of a performer in a nightclub in Amsterdam, and Ms Davis – after resisting – eventually acquiesced “fearing it may harm her future on the team” if she didn’t do so.
Lizzo is also accused, along with dance choreographer Tanisha Scott, of weight-shaming Ms Davis on tour.
Davis alleges the two questioned whether she was “struggling with something as she seemed less committed to her role on the dance cast”, the lawsuit details.
Though never explicitly stated, the questions “gave Ms Davis the impression that she needed to explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job”, the lawsuit says.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges the dance team’s captain, Shirlene Quigley, pushed her Christian beliefs on performers and derided those who engaged in premarital sex.
She is also accused of openly discussing one of the former dancers’ virginity, and posting about it on social media.
Accusations including racial discrimination are also leveled at production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc.’s management team.
It alleges black members of the dance troupe were “treated differently” to other members of the team.
They were accused of being “lazy, unprofessional, and having bad attitudes” – the lawsuit claimed these are tropes often used “to disparage and discourage” black women and that other dancers were not treated like this.
The plaintiffs also alleged Lizzo and the production company team did not pay them fairly while on parts of Lizzo’s European tour.
They claim they were offered only 25 per cent of their weekly compensatory pay during their time not performing on the tour, while other performers received 50 per cent and they also claim they were told not to work on other projects while on tour.
Two of the three dancers involved in the lawsuit, Davis and Williams, met Lizzo in March 2021 while preparing to compete on the reality TV show Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, the lawsuit says.
The third, Rodriguez, was hired later in May 2021 to perform in Lizzo’s Rumours music video. She then remained part of the dance troupe, it adds.
Davis and Williams were fired from the dance team, while Rodriguez later resigned over the alleged treatment of her fellow colleagues. (Agency)