Lizzo has issued a statement in response to a wide-ranging lawsuit filed against her and her touring company Tuesday (August 1st) that accused the singer of sexual harassment and creating hostile work conditions.
“These last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing,” Lizzo wrote in a lengthy statement posted to social media. “My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized. Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.”
“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.”
“I am not here to be looked at as a victim, but I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these 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. 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.”
“As an artist I have always been very passionate about what | 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.”
“I’m hurt but | 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.”
Via Billboard, plaintiffs Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez claim that the “About Damn Time” singer had pressured them into attending a sex show in Amsterdam’s Red Light District and engage with the performers in an obscene fashion.
“Lizzo began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas,” the lawsuit reads. “Lizzo then turned her attention to Ms. Davis and began pressuring Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women performing at the club.”
After Lizzo reportedly started a chant for Davis to touch the performer, Davis eventually “acquiesced in an attempt to bring an end to the chants.”
The suit also claims that Lizzo and other staffers implied to Davis that she “needed to explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job.”
In a statement to Billboard, the plaintiffs’ attorney Ron Zambrano said: “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.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit cites the captain of Lizzo’s dance team, alleging that she forced her religious beliefs on the plaintiffs and engaged in other behavior made them uncomfortable, including incendiary comments about their sex lives and simulating oral sex on a banana in front of them.
In the initial hours following the news of the lawsuit, more of Lizzo’s former dancers took to their social media to share their support, adding that the allegations were “very much [their] experience.”
— FOLLOW @YITTY (@lizzo) August 3, 2023