Lizzo spoke out after a trio of her former dancers filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against. On Aug. 3, Grammy-winner, 35, defended herself against the claims of sexual, religious, and racial harassment, as well as allegations of disability discrimination, assault, and false imprisonment. “These last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelming and disappointing,” she wrote on Instagram. “My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized. 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 added, “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 my performances seriously because at the end of the day I only want to put out the best art that represents me and my fans. With passion comes hard work and high standards. 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 part of the team. I am not here to be looked at as a victim, but I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days. I am very open with my sexuality and expressing myself, but I cannot accept or allow people to use that openness to make me out to be something I am not. There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world. 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. I’m hurt, but I will not let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this time.”
The singer’s former dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez filed a civil lawsuit against Lizzo on Tuesday, August 1. The three were seeking damages from Lizzo, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., and dance captain Shirlene Quigley, according to The Associated Press.
The lawsuit claimed that during a night out in Amsterdam’s Red Light district after a concert, Lizzo brought her team to a sexually-themed performance, and encouraged dancers to touch the nude performers. The lawsuit claims that the singer began a chant to convince Arianna to touch one of the nude performers’ breasts, which she did after the chants became “overwhelming,” and she wanted it to stop. “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,” the lawsuit says.
Arianna also claimed that Lizzo had called her out for gaining weight and called her commitment to being a dancer into question. She was fired in May 2023 after she recorded a meeting where Lizzo gave notes to dancers. She also accused the dance captain of trying to push her Christian beliefs onto the dancers and singled her out as a “non-believer.”
Lizzo has often been celebrated for her body-positive messaging in her songs, performances, interviews, and much more. The singer has often responded to critics and shut down people body-shaming her on social media, sharing her experiences. Back in January, she shared a video clapping back at people talking about her body. “The discourse around bodies is officially tired,” she said. “Artists are here to make art. And this body is art. And I’m gonna do whatever I want with this body.”
In light of the lawsuit, Beyonce appeared to leave out Lizzo’s name during a lyric at the Boston concert for her Renaissance tour, per CNN. While the Lemonade popstar performs “The Queens” remix of her hit “Break My Soul,” she includes a list of influential Black women in the entertainment industry, including Nicki Minaj, Lauryn Hill, and Nina Simone, but during the Boston performance, fan captured videos showed that she left out Lizzo, opting to repeat Erykah Badu, but the “About Damn Time” singer’s name still flashed on a screen behind her.