Singer and entrepreneur Lizzo has released a response to the myriad of allegations that have been leveled against her. On Tuesday the “Special” singer was accused of sexual harassment and creating an inhabitable work environment by three of her past dancers. In her statement, Lizzo referred to the allegations as “unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous.”
“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,” the statement reads.
Allegations of an Unhealthy Work Environment
Dancers, Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez, filed the complaint on July 18 in Los Angeles Superior Court. Lizzo, her Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. and her tour’s dance captain are named defendants, though, according to USA Today, not all the allegations pertain to all of them. Two of the dancers Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams recently sat down for an interview with TMZ alongside their lawyer where they delved deeper into their experiences while working with the singer.
Williams and Davis shared that dancers who followed Lizzo’s whims or were on good terms with the singer tended to receive preferential treatment while those who refused often had a sense of possibly losing their job.
“There was no line between professionalism and personal. We had in our mind that if we weren’t down for anything, we would then be ostracized later,” they told TMZ. The third plaintiff Noelle Rodriguez also alleged that Lizzo almost assaulted her after she resigned from her post as a dancer. Rodriguez revealed this while speaking to ABC. “I told her why… I was like ‘I feel unsafe, I feel disrespected, and I have never experienced such treatment in the seven years that I’ve been doing this.’ And then she proceeded to prove all of those things right by balling up her fists and saying, ‘you’re so lucky, you’re so f—ing lucky,’ basically alluding to hitting me.” Rodriguez said of her experience. “As she’s inching towards me, one of our fellow dance-mates and her best friend comes and pulls her back from assaulting me.”
One of the allegations in the suit details an incident in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The lawsuit claims that Lizzo and her dancers visited a club that allows patrons to interact with nude performers. It’s alleged that Lizzo pressured Davis to interact with one of the performers. Other women who worked closely with Lizzo have also come out to share their experiences working with Lizzo, who has been called “selfish, arrogant and self-centred.”
A First Response
This is the first time Lizzo is speaking on the issue since it came to light. In her statement, she didn’t address the specific allegations head-on but reiterated that the allegations were not in line with her character.
“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. 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,” she wrote in her statement.
She went on to state that she is not seeking to be seen as the victim in this incident but also knows that she is not the villain that people are portraying her to be.
“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,” the statement reads.
Later in her statement, she did go on to address the allegations of body-shaming her dancers.
“I know what it feels like to be body shamed on a daily basis,” she said, “And would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight.”
The singer concluded her statement by saying, “I’m hurt but I will not let the good work l’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.”