Lizzo fights back over sexual harassment claims: ‘I am not the villain’

Lizzo has taken to social media to proclaim she is "not the villain" following a lawsuit filed against her and her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc (BGBT).

Lizzo Roskilde

The legal battle stems from accusations by three former dance team members who allege a cocktail of pretty terrible wrongdoing by the ‘Truth Hurts’ star, including sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

Tuesday’s (1 August) bombshell allegations highlight the conduct of Lizzo and Shirlene Quigley, the captain of her dance ensemble. Dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez have come forward, claiming experiences ranging from sexual, religious and racial harassment to assault and false imprisonment.

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.

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West Coast Employment Lawyers, the firm representing the trio, stated that Ms Davis and Ms Williams were sacked, while Ms Rodriguez quit over the “appalling behaviour.”

Lizzo’s raw, emotional response on Instagram reads like a manifesto. “I am not here to be looked at as a victim,” she stated, “but I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days.”


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The ‘Good as Hell’ songwriter further grumbled: “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 criticised. Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.”

She didn’t stop there, confronting the allegations directly: “These sensationalised stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behaviour on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.”

Lizzo’s passion is unquestionable, and her statement reinforced her belief in her art: “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.”

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She rounded off the message by touching on her sexuality and self-respect: “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’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.”

This isn’t Lizzo’s first controversy. 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.

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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