Lizzo and her production company are being sued by three former dancers over allegations of sexual harassment and the creation of a hostile work environment.
The complaint, filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday, was brought against the Truth Hurts singer, real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson, and her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc (BGBT).
It also highlights alleged behaviour from Shirlene Quigley, the captain of Lizzo’s dance team.
The three dancers – Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez – claim they were subject to sexual, religious and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault and false imprisonment, among other allegations.
Ms Davis and Ms Williams were eventually fired from their positions, while Ms Rodriguez resigned over the “appalling behaviour”, according to West Coast Employment Lawyers, who are representing the plaintiffs.
Part of the lawsuit, obtained by the PA news agency, details a trip to Amsterdam’s red light district, in February 2023, in which performers were allegedly pressured to come along on nights out through fear of losing their jobs.
One visit to a club named Bananenbar allegedly resulted in performers being encouraged to touch nude performers by Lizzo.
“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 complaint read.
The Grammy-winning US singer is known for her advocacy of body-positivity and inclusivity in her music, with her plus-sized performers hired through her reality show Watch Out For The Big Grrrls.
The dancers accused Lizzo of calling attention to Ms Davis’ weight gain and later berating and then firing her “on the spot” after she recorded a meeting because of a health condition.
Lizzo also “hurled expletives” at her dancers and acted “aggressively” towards Ms Williams by “cracking her knuckles (and) balling her fists”, the complaint stated.
After being fired, Ms Davis was allegedly kept in a room while a member of the security team searched her phone.
Elsewhere, it was claimed Lizzo accused dancers of “not performing up to par and repeatedly accused the dancers of drinking alcohol before shows even though the dance cast had never partaken in such a practice”.
This led to several dancers being required to re-audition for their spots under “brutal” criteria with the possibility of firing, according to the lawsuit.
The alleged behaviour of Ms Quigley was also noted during the suit, and it was claimed that she had often “pushed” her Christian beliefs on members of the dance group and made them feel “uncomfortable”.
Ms Quigley also allegedly shared “inappropriate” details about her own sexual habits and often engaged “unprompted” in her “party trick” of performing oral sex on a banana.
It is not made clear in the lawsuit whether Lizzo knew of allegations against Ms Quigley.
“The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly…
“…while privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are not only illegal but absolutely demoralising,” said Ron Zambrano, attorney for the plaintiffs.
Representatives for Lizzo have been approached for comment.
Published: by Radio NewsHub