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What did Lizzo do? All the allegations made by former dancers – from sexual harassment to body shaming

Pop star Lizzo shocked fans by announcing she was quitting music, months after denying allegations of sexual harassment and bullying by former members of her dance troupe.

On Friday (March 29), the multi-award winning artist shared her plans to retire from the industry in a social media post.

“I am constantly faced with lies being told about me for my influence and opinions…I am the butt of every joke every time because of my appearance…my character is criticized by people who don’t know me and disrespect my name,” his statement on Instagram read.

Last year, former members of her dance troupe filed claims of sexual harassment and weight-shaming by Lizzo (born Melissa Jefferson) in a 44-page lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, dancers Arianna Davis, Noelle Rodriguez and Crystal Williams detail allegations of assault, inappropriate sexual behavior, workplace misconduct, disability discrimination and religious harassment against Lizzo and her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc (BGBT).

Lizzo previously hit back at the “false allegations” in a statement posted on her social media platforms, adding that the claims were “as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous not to address.”

In February, a Los Angeles judge denied Lizzo’s request to have the lawsuit dismissed, despite some charges being dismissed.

Here are all the accusations Davis, Rodriguez and Williams made against the “Rumors” hitmaker:

What are the allegations against Lizzo?

The plaintiffs accused Lizzo of assault, disability discrimination and sexual harassment in the lawsuit seen by The Independent.

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They questioned the manner in which they were fired from Lizzo’s production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. In the complaint filed, the dancers accused Lizzo of drawing attention to Davis’ weight gain , then reprimanded and then fired her “on the spot” after recording. a meeting due to a health problem.

Lizzo receives Record of the Year award for “About Damn Time” at the 2023 Grammys

(Getty Images for the Recording Academy)

When Rodriguez objected to Lizzo’s treatment of Davis and resigned from the cast, Lizzo allegedly “aggressively approached” Rodriquez, who said she thought the 35-year-old would have hit her if one of the other dancers had not intervened.

The accusers testified about the “sexually charged and uncomfortable environment” they were allegedly forced to endure while working with Lizzo and her dance captain and co-defendant Quigley.

It is claimed that Lizzo “began inviting the cast to take turns touching the naked performers, catching dildos thrown from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas” during a visit to a club striptease in Amsterdam.

She allegedly pressured Davis to “touch the breasts of one of the naked women” while “leading a chant to goad him.”

“Eventually, the chorus became overwhelming and Ms. Davis, mortified, acquiesced in an attempt to stop the chanting,” the 44-page lawsuit states.

Lizzo allegedly “harassed” a member of her security team to go on stage where “his pants were pulled down.”

“Plaintiffs were appalled by the lack of respect Lizzo showed for the bodily autonomy of her employees and those around her, particularly in the presence of many of the people she employed,” the lawsuit reads.

Lizzo performing at Glastonbury 2023

(Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

It is alleged the dancers were subjected to a “brutal” re-audition after Lizzo was convinced the actors had been drinking before shows, citing their poor performances.

Davis claims she got dirty because she was afraid to take a bathroom break during the 12-hour rehearsal. When she found an interval to change into clean clothes, the wardrobe department allegedly gave her a transparent garment.

“(She) was required to complete the rehearsal, dancing in front of male crew members known for sexualizing dancers in less revealing scenarios, while wearing completely see-through shorts and no underwear,” according to the lawsuit.

Davis claims Lizzo and her choreographer made “thinly veiled” references to her weight gain, which the singer allegedly “already drew attention to after noticing her at the South by Southwest music festival.”

She said she felt she had to explain her weight gain in order to keep her job and was “hurt and emotionally exhausted from being forced” to reveal that she had been diagnosed with binge eating disorder. .

Lizzo reportedly offered her time off for rehearsals, but Davis refused because she did not want to be considered “too weak” to continue playing with the team.

“Sensational stories” from former employees

News of the lawsuit shocked fans of Lizzo, a champion of the body positivity movement and women’s rights.

Two days later, the singer said the trial was full of “sensational stories from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.”

She continued: “I take my music and performances seriously because ultimately I only want to present the best art that represents me and my fans.

“With passion comes hard work and high standards,” Lizzo added. “Sometimes I have to make difficult decisions, but I never intend to make anyone uncomfortable or make them feel like they are not valued as an important member of the team.”

The “Juice” singer stressed that she didn’t want to be seen “as a victim,” but added, “I’m not the villain that people and the media have made me out to be over the last few days.” »

She denied shaming any of her employees and shared that she felt “hurt” by the allegations against her, while expressing gratitude for the support she received.

“I’m hurt, but I won’t let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who supported me to get back on my feet during this difficult time,” she finished.

Lizzo tasked ‘Beware the Big Grrrls’ contestants to pose nude

(First video)

Who else is named in the lawsuit?

Other defendants include Shirlene Quigley, the captain of Lizzo’s dance team, and Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc.

Davis alleges that Quigley “regularly preached to her about what (she) believed was a shared Christian identity” and it was claimed that she often “pushed” her beliefs on members of the dance group and made them “uncomfortable.” ‘comfortable’. .

The lawsuit claims that Davis’ virginity became a subject of “extreme importance” to Quigley during the filming of Watch out for the big Grrrls. She allegedly “broadcast” these “extremely personal details” about Davis “to the world” – including in interviews – without his permission.

Quigley allegedly made derisive comments about people having premarital sex, even though she knew some members of the troupe “did not share her views.”

Davis, Williams and Rodrigues also accuse Quigley of “sexually inappropriate behavior” at work, including allegedly simulating oral sex on a banana in front of the cast. They claim this “party trick” left the plaintiffs feeling very uncomfortable.

They also claim Quigley made “sexually explicit comments,” including sharing his sexual fantasies with the actors.

She was accused of imposing her religious beliefs on Rodriguez, a “non-believer.” When Rodriguez asked Quigley to “refrain” from doing this, the dance captain allegedly became “angry and yelled at him.”

The independent has contacted Quigley’s representatives for comment.

Complaints against Big Grrrl include allegations of racism towards black women on the dance team, with members of the management team accusing them of “being lazy, unprofessional and having bad attitudes”.

On February 2, 2024, Judge Mark H Epstein denied Lizzo’s request to have the entire case dismissed under California’s anti-SLAPP law – a special law that makes it easier and easier to terminate quickly to baseless lawsuits that threaten freedom of expression.

Judge Epstein rejected some of the lawsuit’s allegations, including a sexual harassment allegation involving a nude photo shoot on the set of Watch out for the big Grrrls; a disability discrimination charge regarding a dancer’s allegation that she was fired from Lizzo’s tour after revealing her mental health issues; and an allegation that Lizzo’s camp intentionally interfered with the dancers’ other employment prospects.

However, he allowed the trial to continue.

“It is dangerous for the court to intervene abruptly in a constitutionally protected activity,” the judge wrote in his decision. “But it is equally dangerous to turn a blind eye to allegations of discrimination or other forms of misconduct simply because they take place in a speech-related environment. »

As a performer, Lizzo is known for promoting body positivity, women’s rights, LGBT+ rights and anti-bullying. Throughout her career, she has created a globally successful brand of body positivity and self-love, backed by a discography of empowerment anthems.

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News Source : www.independent.co.uk

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