Lizzo Calls Sexual Harassment Allegations ‘Outrageous’ in Response to Lawsuit

Lizzo performs live at NBC Todays Citi Summer Concert Series at Rockefeller Center. July 15, 2022, New York, USA: Melissa Viviane Jefferson, known professionally as Lizzo, an American singer, rapper and songwriter — Photo by Photos

Lizzo has responded to the lawsuit filed against her this week alleging sexual harassment and creating a hostile workplace.

In a statement posted to her Twitter/X account Thursday morning, the “About Damn Time” singer said the allegations made by her former employees were as “unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.”

“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.” Lizzo said in the statement. “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.”

On Aug. 1, three of her former tour dancers — Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez — filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against the pop star and her team, claiming they were subjected to a hostile work environment in which they faced harassment about their weight, pressure to engage in sexually explicit acts, and religious discrimination during their time working with the singer.

Related: Lizzo Described as ‘Narcissistic Bully’ by Director Hired to Film Singer’s Documentary

The lawsuit includes one particularly vivid description in which Lizzo allegedly forced her dancers to attend a sex show in Amsterdam’s Red Light District and engage with the performers.

“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 states.

Specifically, Lizzo is accused of pressuring one dancer, Arianna Davis, to touch one of the nude women’s breasts during the show, with the singer herself leading a chant to goad Davis into doing so.

The lawsuit also includes accusations against Shirlene Quigley, the captain of Lizzo’s dance team and a co-defendant in the case. It claims that Quigley imposed her Christian beliefs on the dancers, commented about their virginity and simulated oral sex on a banana in front of them.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that after a performance at South by Southwest, Lizzo “called attention” to a dancer’s weight gain. The dancers purportedly felt the need to explain their weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about their lives to keep their jobs.

The seriousness of these claims have raised concerns about Lizzo’s perspectives on body positivity, which has been a central theme of the singer’s personal brand.

In her response to the sexual harassment and hostile workplace allegations, Lizzo called out her former employees for what she described as “sensationalized” accounts.

“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,” Lizzo claimed.

“As an artist I have always been very passionate about what I 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,” she added. “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.”

While Lizzo did not mention the accusations in detail, she broadly addressed the claims of body shaming described in the lawsuit.

“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,” the wrote in part.

Read Lizzo’s statement in full here.