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Lizzo sued for alleged hostile work environment, harassment by former dancers

Dave Simpson/WireImage

(NEW YORK) — Grammy-award winning singer Lizzo is being sued by three of her former dancers for alleged harassment and creating a hostile work environment.


The complaint was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Lizzo, whose legal name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, as well as her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. (BGBT).

Shirlene Quigley, captain of Lizzo’s dance team, is also named in the complaint.

Dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez allege “sexual, religious and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault and false imprisonment,” according to the press release about the lawsuit from the plaintiffs’ attorney Ron Zambrano.

“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,” said Zambrano.

The complaint alleges that Lizzo pressured her dancers to engage in a nude photo shoot during Lizzo’s “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” dance competition show on Amazon Prime, as well as attend nude performances and touch nude performers at clubs in the Red Light District in Amsterdam.

Dancers also say they were “tricked” into going to a nude cabaret bar by Lizzo, claiming she concealed details about the event they were attending.

Plaintiffs also accuse BGBT management of discriminating against the Black members of the dance team in both pay and treatment.

Davis also asserts that Lizzo and her team made negative comments alluding to her weight gain.

The dancers also accuse Quigley of preaching Christianity and against premarital sex in the workplace, “while oversharing her masturbatory habits and sex life with her husband,” according to the press release. She is also accused of broadcasting a dancer’s virginity in the workplace, as well as in interviews and social media.

Davis and Williams say they were fired, while Rodriguez resigned over the alleged workplace climate.

When Rodriguez resigned, she said “Lizzo aggressively approached Ms. Rodriquez, cracking her knuckles, balling her fists” and “feared that Lizzo intended to hit her and would have done so if one of the other dancers had not intervened.”

The “Truth Hurts” pop star is known for her body positive activism and upbeat pop music about self-love.

Lizzo’s representatives, BGBT and Quigley have not yet returned ABC News’ requests for comment.

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