Lizzo has broken her silence regarding the “gut-wrenchingly difficult” and “overwhelmingly disappointing” few days she’s had since several of her former backup dancers filed a lawsuit against her earlier this week.
The musician, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, is being sued by three of her former dancers, some of whom competed on her Prime Video series Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls. They have accused her of weight-shaming, harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
While Lizzo wrote in an Instagram post that she usually chooses “not to respond to false allegations,” she said the claims in the suit are “too outrageous to not be addressed.” She also noted that these “sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.”
“As an artist, I have always been very passionate about what I do. I take my music and my performances seriously because at the end of the day, I only want to put out the best art that represents me and my fans,” she continued. “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 are valued as an important part of the team.”
Lizzo added that her goal isn’t to be viewed as a “victim” — but she’s also “not the villain” that others have made her out to be over the last few days.
“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,” she said. “There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world. I know what it feels like to be body shamed on a daily basis and would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight.”
She concluded by writing, “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 life me up during this difficult time.”
In the lawsuit, Lizzo is accused of making “thinly veiled” comments about one of her dancer’s weight. The same dancer alleges that she was pressured by the singer to touch a nude performer at an Amsterdam strip club during an after-party.
Dance captain Shirlene Quigley was also named in the suit — as well as Lizzo’s production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring. The plaintiffs are accusing Quigley of “proselytizing” and making “inescapable” sexual comments.
Shortly after news of the lawsuit broke, Oscar-nominated director Sophia Nahli Allison opened up about her experience working with Lizzo back in 2019. According to Allison, she traveled with the star to be the director of her documentary but ended up quitting after two weeks after allegedly being treated with “such disrespect.”
“I witnessed how arrogant, self-centered, and unkind [Lizzo] is,” the director wrote in a tweet. “I was not protected and was thrown into a shitty situation with little support. My spirit said to run as fast as you fucking can and I’m so glad I trusted my gut.”
She added, “I felt gaslit and deeply hurt, but I’ve healed. Reading these reports made me realize how dangerous of a situation it was. This kind of abuse of power happens far too often. Much love and support to the dancers.”
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