Three former dancers for Grammy-winning singer Lizzo accused her of creating a hostile work environment, including weight shaming and sexually denigrating behaviour, in a lawsuit released on Tuesday (Aug 1).
The lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court named Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc and the captain of her dance team, Shirlene Quigley, court documents showed.
A representative for Lizzo did not respond to a request for comment.
The complaints filed by plaintiffs Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez include harassment based on sex, religion, race and disability.
In the lawsuit, the dancers claimed they were coerced into touching nude performers at an Amsterdam strip club in late February.
The suit also stated that Davis was pressured to participate in a nude photo shoot to stay in a dance competition despite her discomfort. She claimed she feared losing her job if she didn’t comply with Lizzo’s requests.
“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 demoralising,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, Ron Zambrano, said in a statement.
The lawsuit alleged that Quigley harassed the dancers by subjecting them to her religious beliefs against their will.
“Ms Quigley was not only vocal about her religious belief but took every opportunity to proselytise to any and all in her presence regardless of protestations,” the lawsuit stated.
The plaintiffs’ claimed that Quigley forced the topic of Davis’ virginity into conversations and interviews and on social media where she publicly revealed personal details about Davis without her consent.
Davis and Williams were eventually fired while Rodriguez resigned over the behaviour, the lawsuit said.