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Three former dancers for singer Lizzo have filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the Grammy award-winning musician, claiming they were subjected to a severely toxic work environment that included “debauchery” and racially biased taunts of being “lazy” and “snarky.”
They also allege that she pressured one of them to touch a nude performer at an Amsterdam club and subjected the group to an “excruciating” audition after leveling false accusations that they were drinking on the job.
NBC News reports the dancers accused Lizzo — a performer known for embracing body positivity and celebrating her physique — of calling attention to one dancer’s weight gain and later berating, then firing, that dancer after she recorded a meeting because of a health condition.
In addition to accusations of a hostile work environment and sexual harassment, the suit brings claims for religious and racial harassment, false imprisonment, interference with prospective economic advantage and other allegations. Not every claim was brought against each defendant.
According to CBS News, the singer’s company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, and dance team captain, Shirlene Quigley, were both named as defendants in the suit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
In their complaint, dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez also accuse Lizzo of disability discrimination, assault and false imprisonment.
During a rehearsal, Davis alleges she was so fearful of losing her job for using the bathroom, she soiled her pants. She was given a see-through outfit with no undergarments to finish the performance, the suit says.
The suit also alleges false imprisonment against Lizzo’s production company because a member of her security detail allegedly forced a performer to remain in a room after a meeting ended so he could search her phone for the video.
“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,” according to their lawyer, Ron Zambrano.
Media representatives for Lizzo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Davis, Williams and Rodriguez, who are all people of color, joined Lizzo’s dance team in 2021, according to the suit. During an international tour in Amsterdam earlier this year, Lizzo allegedly pressured the dancers into engaging with nude performers in the city’s red light district, the suit states.
In their complaint, the dancers describe their former work environment as “overtly sexual” and hostile, claiming that allegedly abusive behavior by the singer contributed to their “emotional distress.”
Davis and Williams were fired and Rodriguez resigned from Lizzo’s dance team, Zambrano said.
The suit does not specify a dollar amount for damages that cover emotional distress including unpaid wages, loss of earnings and attorney’s fees.
Read more at NBC News.