- By Helen Bushby
- Entertainment reporter
US pop star Lizzo has said allegations by three of her ex-dancers, including sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment, are “false”.
“Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.”
The lawsuit also includes accusations of religious and racial harassment.
Discrimination, assault and false imprisonment are also listed in the legal case.
Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez are the former dancers bringing the case against the singer, her dance captain and her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring (BGBT).
The legal action, filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday, includes allegations the dancers were pressured into attending sex shows and interacting with the dancers at the 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 – who is known for celebrating her body and self-love – is also accused, along with dance choreographer Tanisha Scott, of fat-shaming Ms Davis on tour.
What did Lizzo say?
“These last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing. 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 to not be addressed. 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 difficult time.”