Lizzo is charged with fat-shaming and sexual harassment

Lizzo, pictured at this year's Met Gala, is best known for hits such as Truth Hurts, About Damn Time, Juice, Good As Hell and 2 Be Loved
Lizzo, pictured at this year’s Met Gala, is best known for hits such as Truth Hurts, About Damn Time, Juice, Good As Hell and 2 Be Loved

Three dancers say in a complaint that they were harassed while on tour with the Grammy winner due to the “overtly sexual atmosphere” they were forced to work in. The case was filed on Tuesday.

The Grammy-winning singer Lizzo and the leader of her dance crew are accused in a complaint brought by three of her former dancers that was filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court of creating a hostile work environment when the singer was on her Special Tour this year.

The dancers were allegedly “exposed to an overtly sexual atmosphere that permeated their workplace,” which included “outings where nudity and sexuality were a focal point,” according to the lawsuit, a copy of which was handed to The New York Times by the plaintiffs’ law firm.

In place of her stage name, Lizzo is named as a defendant along with her production business, Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc., dance captain Shirlene Quigley, and her true name, Melissa Jefferson. It is unclear if the singer knew of the claims made by the plaintiffs regarding Ms. Quigley.

Lizzo and Ms. Quigley are accused of participating in various incidents that, according to the three dancers’ attorneys, included weight shaming, sexual harassment, and harassment based on one’s religion.

The lawsuit claims that while Lizzo harassed the dancers sexually, Ms. Quigley “made it her mission to preach” Christianity to them and became fixated on virginity.

According to the lawsuit, Lizzo started encouraging staff members to touch nude performers and handle the dildos and bananas they used in their acts on one occasion while at an Amsterdam nightclub.

The lawsuit claims that despite repeatedly professing no desire in doing so, a dancer eventually “acquiesced” to stroking a nude female performer’s breast out of fear of reprisal.

On Tuesday, demands for comments from agents for Lizzo and her production firm were not immediately fulfilled.

After competing on Lizzo’s reality television program “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” which is available on Amazon Prime, two of the plaintiffs, Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams, started touring with her in 2021. At the time, Lizzo stated the performance was a chance to represent plus-size dancers. According to the lawsuit, Ms. Davis and Ms. Williams were let go in the spring of 2023.