Lizzo Has Been Sued For Sexual Harassment, Assault And More

Lizzo has been sued by a trio of her former touring dancers for sexual harassment, assault, discrimination and fostering a “hostile work environment.”

In a broad complaint for unspecified damages filed Tuesday morning in Los Angeles Superior Court, Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez also allege that they were body-shamed, put through a self-described “excruciating” audition for their own jobs after they were accused of drinking on the clock, and held to prohibitive “soft hold” retainers.

Naming the four-time Grammy winner Lizzo herself (aka) Melissa Jefferson, plus Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. and Shirlene Quigley, the head of the performer’s dance team, the suit (read it here) vividly describes the dancers being forced to attend and participate in sex shows while on tour, having their virginity mocked, being subject to religious diatribes as well as a case of “false imprisonment.”

“As the headlining act of ‘The Special Tour’ it was clear that Lizzo was the ultimate decision-making authority and supervisor of Plaintiffs,” the filing states.

“Additionally, as dance cast captain, Ms. Quigley also held a supervisory role within the production,” it adds. “At no point did anyone from BGBT management nor Lizzo’s step in to put an end to this inappropriate behavior. Accordingly, Defendants are strictly liable for Lizzo’s and Ms. Quigley’s harassing behavior.”

Touring with Lizzo up until they were axed earlier this year, Davis and Williams were among the 13 contestants on the Emmy-winning Lizzo’s ‘Watch Out for the Big Grrrls’, which debuted its first season on Prime Video last year.

“I Am Beginning To Hate The World”- Lizzo

In the suit, the duo detail that during filming in 2021 they were subject to nude photo shoots and at least one “psychological examination” involving Davis, who “struggles with anxiety and depression which occasionally results in binge eating.”

Rodriguez was welcomed on board later for one of Lizzo’s recordings and afterward event dates. Probably leaving to a noisy “Bye, Bitch!” Rodriguez resigned at the beginning of May this year, not long after Williams was fired, following a heated argument with Lizzo herself.

The suit also claims racial discrimination from the all-white management team against Davis, Williams and other non-African American dancers:

The conduct of Defendant BGBT created a hostile work environment for Plaintiffs, making the conditions of their employment intolerable in direct contravention of various statutes and state law decisions, including but not limited to California Government Code §12940(h) and (j). Plaintiffs were subjected to a hostile work environment due to, including but not limited to, BGBT’s management deriding Ms. WILLIAMS, Ms. DAVIS, and the other black members of their dance team as lazy, unprofessional, “snarky,” and generally having bad attitudes. None of these same allegations were leveled against dancers who are not black. After Ms. WILLIAMS was fired in a hotel lobby, in front of the entire dance cast, and Ms. RODRIGUEZ confronted Ms. Gugliotta about how unprofessionally she handled terminating Ms. WILLIAMS. Ms. Gugliotta responded, “we’ve never had any problems with you,” seeming to imply that Ms. RODRIGUEZ, one of the few members of the dance cast who is not black, was not painted with the same generalized and unfounded criticisms as the black members of the dance cast.

According to the lawsuit filed by Ronald Zambrano of Los Angeles-based West Coast Employment Lawyers, “Plaintiffs also suffered severe emotional distress, anxiety, pain and suffering, physical injuries, physical sickness, medical expenses, future medical expenses, attorneys’ fees, and other damages to be determined at trial according to proof.”

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