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Published On: August 2, 2023 12:40 PM NPT By: Agencies

Lizzo Hit With Lawsuit From Dancers Over Hostile Work Environment Claims

Lizzo Hit With Lawsuit From Dancers Over Hostile Work Environment Claims

A trio of former tour dancers for Lizzo are taking the artist to court for allegedly subjecting them to a hostile work environment that included instances sexual harassment, according to the report by The Hollywood Reporter.

The suit, which the firm representing the plaintiffs said was filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses Lizzo and employees of Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. of interrogating dancers about their weight and pressuring them to engage in sexually explicit acts at sex shows. It details an incident in Amsterdam this year where staff was allegedly pushed to engage with nude performers.

“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,” states the complaint, which is embedded below.

Lizzo allegedly pressured plaintiff Arianna Davis to “touch the breasts one of the nude women performing at the club” and “began leading a chant goading” her to do so despite expressing her discomfort. She reluctantly agreed after the “chorus became overwhelming,” at which point the singer and her staff “burst into laughter,” the suit says.

Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez make several allegations in the complaint, including religious and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault and false imprisonment. They’ve sued Lizzo (real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson), her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., and Shirlene Quigley, captain of the singer’s dance team.

The suit says Lizzo, regarded as an advocate of body positivity, pressed Davis for an “explanation why she seemed less bubbly and vivacious than she did prior to the tour starting,” according to the complaint. She argues the questions were “thinly veiled concerns about [her] weight gain, which Lizzo had previously called attention to after noticing it at the South by Southwest music festival.”

Although Lizzo never explicitly asked about her weight, Davis claims that she was left with the “impression that she needed to explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job.”

Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. was also accused of religious harassment through Quigley, who allegedly monitored Davis’ virginity and “singled out Rodriguez as a non-believer.” The complaint adds, “While Ms. Quigley was for sure the most extreme in her religious convictions, her sentiments were softly echoed by others in supervisory roles at BGBT. Before rehearsals and performances, the dance team would pray together. While it was not an official requirement for team members to participate in these prayers, it became clear that engagement was compulsory.”

The assault claim stems from a confrontation Rodriguez and Lizzo, who allegedly approached the dancer “aggressively, yelling profanities, cracking her knuckles, and balling her fists apparently preparing herself attack.” Lizzo allegedly had to be restrained.

Additionally, Davis alleges assault after she was “confined to a room against her will” and was told she’s not allowed to leave unless she submitted to a search of the contents of her phone. She and Williams were terminated while Rodriguez resigned, according to the complaint.

A representative for Lizzo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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