Lizzo is speaking out after news broker earlier this week that a lawsuit was filed against her by three of her former backup dancers. Lizzo — whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson — addressed the claims made by Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez in the lawsuit, which accused her of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
The 35-year-old singer posted a lengthy statement to her social media accounts, saying: “these last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing. My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized. Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed. These sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behaviour on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.” Lizzo added: “I take my music and my performances seriously because at the end of the day I only want to put out the best art than represents me and my fans. 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.”
Sayiing that she doesn’t want to be “looked at as a victim”, Lizzo wrote: “But I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days. 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. 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 … I’m hurt but I will not let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time.”
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on August 1, names Lizzo, as well as her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. (BGBT), and Shirlene Quigley, the captain of her dance team as defendants. The dancers are suing Lizzo for sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment, as well as seeking damages for emotional distress including unpaid wages, loss of earnings, and attorney fees.
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