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Lawsuits & Litigation

Lizzo Denies Former Dancers’ Allegations of Sexual Harassment, Body-Shaming

— August 4, 2023

Lizzo and her attorneys have aggressively denied accusations raised by a group of former “Special Tour” dancers, who say that they were body-shamed and coerced into participating in sexualized activities.

Lizzo has denied allegations that she sexually harassed and weight-shamed dancers on her “Special Tour.”

As has reported before, several “Special Tour” dancers filed a lawsuit against Lizzo earlier this week. In their complaint, the dancers claim that Lizzo forced members of her team to participate in sexualized activities, often without their explicit consent.

“These law few days have been gut-wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing,” Lizzo said in a statement released to NBC News. “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,” said Lizzo, whose real name—mentioned in the complaint—is Melissa Jefferson.

Lizzo has since said that the lawsuit is largely comprised of “sensationalized stories,” saying that her former employees have “already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.”

However, Anthony Zambrano—an attorney for the dancers—said that Lizzo’s refusal to accept the allegations only exacerbates his clients’ emotional distress.

“Her denial of this reprehensible behavior only adds to our clients’ emotional distress,” Zambrano said.

Lizzo in 2018. Image via Wikimedia Commons via Flickr. Author: Andy Witchger. (CCA-BY-2.0).

“Lizzo has failed her own brand and has let down her fans,” he said. “The dismissive comments and utter lack of empathy are quite telling about her character and only serve to minimize the trauma she has caused the plaintiffs and other employees who have now come froward sharing their own negative experiences.”

While speaking to NBC, Lizzo appeared to acknowledge that her tours can sometimes be difficult for employees.

“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,” Lizzo said.

“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 the last few days,” she said.

Lizzo also specifically addressed the allegations raised by plaintiff Arianna Davis, a dancer who said that she struggles with a binge eating disorder.

In the lawsuit, Davis said that she felt pressured to provide personal details to explain even slight weight gain—despite Lizzo’s longstanding reputation as a “body positivity” advocate.

“There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in this world. I know what it feels like to be body shamed and would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight,” Lizzo said.

“I’m hurt but I will not let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this,” she added. “I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult.”


Ex-dancers suing Lizzo speak out about the accusations

Lizzo says lawsuit allegations are false, calls past few days ‘gut wrenchingly difficult’

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