Lizzo backup dancers sue her for sexual harrassment and hostile work environment

Three backup dancers who worked for Lizzo are suing the superstar singer for creating a hostile work environment and sexually harrassing people, among other allegations.


The dancers involved are named Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez, according to NBC News.

They also allege that Lizzo pressured one of them to touch a nude stripper at an Amsterdam club, bullying them into doing it by leading a chant goading her until she gave in, despite declining several times. This came alongside the singer forcing the group to undertake an “excruciating” audition after levelling false accusations that they were drinking on the job.

Also included in the lawsuit are allegations of religious and racial harassment and false imprisonment.

Moreover, the dancers also accused Lizzo, who is obese, of calling attention to one dancer’s weight gain and later berating, then firing, that dancer after she recorded a meeting because of a health condition.


Davis and Williams both competed on the reality show Watch Out For The Big Grrrls to win the chance to join her troupe of backing dancers. At the same time, Rodriguez began working with Lizzo after she appeared in the music video for ‘Rumors’.

According to the lawsuit, they all danced for Lizzo until earlier this year, when Davis and Williams were fired, and Rodriguez resigned shortly after.

The suit names Lizzo, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. and her dance team captain Shirlene Quigly as defendants.

The suit states that the ‘Truth Hurts’ singer “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,” continuing: “Lizzo then turned her attention to Ms Davis and began pressuring Ms Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women.”

“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,” it continues.

The suit also alleges that Lizzo subjected the group to an “excruciating” audition, following 12 hours of rehearsal, after falsely accusing them of drinking on the job.

The dancers also claim that, in stark contradiction to the singer’s body-positive ethos promoted in her music, she scrutinised Davis’s weight gain by telling her she was “less committed” to her role.

The suit also accuses Quigley of lecturing other performers and shaming those who had had premarital sex, discussing her sexual fantasies, simulating oral sex, and publicly discussing the virginity of one of the plaintiffs.

READ MORE: ★★★★☆ Special review | Lizzo returns with an album of bootylicious bangers

The suit does not detail whether or not Lizzo knew about the allegations linked to Quigley, but according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer Ron Zambrano, she was aware of the dancers’ complaints.

In a statement provided to NBC, the dancers’ lawyer Ron Zambrano said: “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 demoralizing.”

Earlier this year, the US Patent and Trademark Office formally granted Lizzo a trademark for the phrase “100 per cent that bitch”, popularised by her breakthrough hit ‘Truth Hurts’.

In June 2022, Lizzo was forced to remove an offensive term for disabled people (‘spaz’) from her song ‘Grrrls’ following a public backlash.

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