Lizzo on stage with hands raised

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‘I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be’: Lizzo denies workplace abuse allegations

Three former tour dancers accused Lizzo of weight-shaming and sexual harassment. Lizzo says the allegations are false.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 3, 2023

Two days after news broke of a lawsuit accusing Lizzo of sexual harassment and workplace abuse, the singer has posted a public response.

Describing the accusations as “false” and “outrageous,” she wrote, “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.”

The lawsuit involves three of Lizzo’s former tour dancers. Among other things, they accuse her of weight-shaming, racial harassment, and creating a hostile work environment. One widely-publicized story alleges that Lizzo pressured employees into unwanted sexual situations with nude cabaret performers. They also accuse Lizzo’s dance captain Shirlene Quigley of religious harassment.

Avoiding specific references to events mentioned in the lawsuit, Lizzo’s statement pushes back against these allegations.

Her statement continues: “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.”

She added that she “would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight.”

However, this response didn’t earn a positive reception on social media. Commenters pointed out that Lizzo’s statement is pretty nonspecific compared to her accusers’ extensive legal filing. Some detractors also suggested that the statement’s Notes App format downplayed the severity of the allegations.

Meanwhile, filmmaker Sophia Nahli Allison has come forward with unrelated accusations that Lizzo treated her “with such disrespect” while collaborating on a documentary. Allison wound up quitting the project after two weeks.

“I witnessed how arrogant and unkind she is,” wrote Allison. “I felt gaslit and was deeply hurt but I’ve healed.”

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*First Published: Aug 3, 2023, 8:24 am CDT