Lizzo dancers speak out, calling lawsuit response ‘disheartening’ in escalating legal drama

Lizzo's former backing dancers have hit back at the singer's recent statement regarding the lawsuit filed against her, calling it "disheartening."

Lizzo performing at Glastonbury with backup dancers

Another day, another fresh development in the unfolding Lizzo saga.

To recap: the ‘Truth Hurts’ singer, 35, faced legal action on 3 August when Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis, and Noelle Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against her, accusing her of creating a hostile work environment and engaging in sexual harassment. Lizzo’s dance team captain, Shirlene Quigley, and production company Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. are also named in the suit.

Lizzo, visibly “hurt” by the allegations, didn’t shy away from defending herself. She took to Instagram to insist: “These sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behaviour on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.

“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.”

Lizzo and her three backup dancers

Lizzo and three backup dancers performing at Glastonbury Festival 2021

But the dancers were quick to voice their dissatisfaction with her statement. Williams told Channel 4, “Initially for me it just further deepened my disappointment… It feels like we were made out to be putting out false allegations when that’s not the case.” Rodriguez echoed this sentiment, expressing that the statement invalidated their experiences and added, “where was that same sentiment when I stated to her and wanted to talk out things and saying ‘I’m resigning because I feel unsafe, I feel unheard, I’m disrespected’?”

Davis provided a more reflective take: “A person can do good things, very good things, and those don’t go away… But two things can be true at the same time… I look up to the fact she was using her platform to address issues that other artists weren’t doing but knowing her now. It was performative.”

The lawsuit includes allegations of sexual, religious, and racial harassment, disability discrimination, and false imprisonment. The exact amount sought for damages remains undisclosed.

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But there’s a twist in the tale. Documentarian and photographer Sophia Nahli Allison has come forward, revealing that she quit a documentary with Lizzo in 2019 due to “such disrespect.” Allison’s candid words have poured more fuel on the fire: “I witnessed how arrogant, self-centered, and unkind she is. I was not protected and was thrown into a shitty situation with little support.”

It’s not the first time Lizzo’s courted controversy. Last year, she was forced to remove an offensive term for disabled people (spaz) from her song ‘Grrrls’ following a public backlash.

She also faced a defamation lawsuit from a food delivery driver whom she publicly accused of stealing her food in a tweet. Lizzo later apologized for the incident, and the lawsuit was reportedly settled out of court in 2020.

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In 2019, she was involved in a legal dispute over songwriting credits for her hit song ‘Truth Hurts’. Producers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen claimed they deserved credit for the song’s opening line, which they alleged was taken from a collaborative studio session. Lizzo vehemently denied these claims and filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that the Raisen brothers were not entitled to any credit or profits from the song. The case was eventually dismissed by a judge, upholding Lizzo’s position.

This unfolding saga is undoubtedly casting a shadow over Lizzo’s image, and with such strongly worded statements on both sides, it seems the story is far from over. The spotlight remains on Lizzo and her former dancers as the music world waits to see how this will all play out.

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