Legal action has been taken against Lizzo, a pop musician recognized for her body-positive beliefs and uplifting music. Three former dancers have complained against her production firm, Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc., and the team’s captain, Shirlene Quigley, for alleged wrongdoing.
It is alleged in the complaint that Lizzo subjected dancers to unwelcome sexual advances, made cryptic remarks concerning dancers’ weight gain, and subjected them to prolonged, exhausting rehearsals that caused one dancer to soil herself. At least six other former workers have come forward with identical concerns as of August 9.
The case prompts concerns about Lizzo’s message and reputation and the music industry’s lack of regulation.
Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis, and Noelle Rodriguez filed a complaint against Lizzo after their experiences on her “Special” tour. The claim lists nine instances of alleged wrongdoing. Allegations of sexual harassment, failure to prevent or repair sexual harassment, and failure to prevent or correct religious harassment are made against Lizzo, Quigley, and Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. Plaintiffs state they were made to feel that their jobs were in danger and that they were pressured to do things that made them uncomfortable. Lizzo allegedly forced one of the plaintiffs to touch a dancer’s breasts and another to eat a banana inserted in the genitalia of a naked performer in Amsterdam.
According to the lawsuit, dancers were required to perform the Lord’s Prayer as a group, even if they did not believe in Christianity.
The case highlights the music business’s dangerous working conditions and lack of oversight and responsibility. Institutional monitoring of individual artists is rare, and working conditions such as long hours, hard physical labor, and short-term contracts are the norm.
Other musicians like Cher and Britney Spears have been sued by their staff for claimed discrimination and abuse, but many of Lizzo’s fans have found the lawsuit shocking, considering the artist’s apparent support for women’s rights and body positivity.