Today (August 1), a lawsuit has been filed against Lizzo in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, accusing the pop star of sexual, religious, and racial harassment, assault, false imprisonment, and disability discrimination, among other charges. The plaintiffs — Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Nicole Rodriguez — are all former backup dancers for Lizzo and have also named her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. (BGBT), and dance captain Shirlene Quigley in the suit.
Davis and Williams were both contestants on the Emmy-winning reality series Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, from which they were selected to join the dance team for Lizzo's Special Tour. Rodriguez was hired in 2021 to perform in the "Rumors" video and stayed on as a part of the team. All three characterize Quigley as a Christian evangelical who derided those who engaged in premarital sex while being extremely vocal about her own sex life. Davis and Williams were eventually fired while Rodriguez resigned.
During a tour stop in Amsterdam, the plaintiffs allege they felt obligated to accompany Lizzo to a sex club, where the singer allegedly pressured and infringed on the bodily autonomy of her backup dancers as well as members of her security detail. A similar incident later took place in Paris. The lawsuit also details a culture of racial discrimination at BGBT, wherein Black members of the dance team were accused of being "lazy, unprofessional, and having bad attitudes," and were compensated for downtime at a disproportionately low rate compared to other performers.
This came to a head when Lizzo allegedly made thinly veiled comments about Davis' weight during a performance review, according to a complaint filed by Davis. In a statement to The FADER, attorney to the plaintiffs 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."
The FADER has reached out to Lizzo's representatives and Shirlene Quigley for comment. For a more thorough rundown of the charges detailed in the lawsuit, read this NBC report.