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Lizzo was absolutely caught off-guard by a particular lawsuit filed this Tuesday by not one but three of her former dancers, accusing her of forming a toxic work environment, as well as alleging racial and sexual harassment, according to a source.
The source close to Lizzo and her team told PEOPLE, “She’s been building and building her life and career, and getting achievement after achievement. It blindsided her and her team and is a wake-up call that all of that can be instantly diminished by something like this, just overnight.”
The About Damn Time singer broke her silence on Thursday and shared a long statement on social media where she declared that she is not a villain, and these allegations are outrageous.
Her Instagram post said, “These last few days have been gut-wrenchingly difficult and overwhelming 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 not to be addressed.”
About The Lawsuit:
This lawsuit was first filed in LA County Superior Court on Tuesday against Lizzo, Shirlene Quigley, the captain of her dance team, and Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., her production company.
As per the lawsuit given to PEOPLE exclusively by the law firm of the plaintiffs, Noelle Rodriguez, Crystal Williams, and Arianna Davis, Lizzo had allegedly pressured the dancers to touch nude performers in Amsterdam at a nude club. These dancers were also subjected to body shaming.
Lizzo further added in her statement on Thursday,
“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. s 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. 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. 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. 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.”
The lawsuit also points accusatory fingers toward the captain of Lizzo’s dance team Shirlene Quigley for proselytizing everyone, shaming them for engaging in premarital sexual encounters, and simply oversharing her sexual fantasies as well as masturbatory habits.
The dancers allegedly also endured a lot of racial harassment from the management of Big Grrrl Big Touring – the Black members of the team were simply treated differently than the other members.
And It Goes On:
Davis has also accused Lizzo of engaging in weight shaming. In her response statement, Lizzo, however, denied this accusation and mentioned that since she is someone who faces body shaming regularly, she would never really do this to anyone.
She explained, “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.”
Her statement concluded with the words, “I’m hurt, but I will not let the good work I’ve done in this world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time.”
On Thursday, Ron Zambrano, the attorney of the plaintiffs, wrote to PEOPLE in a statement, “Lizzo has failed her own brand and has let down her fans. Her denial of this reprehensible behavior only adds to our client’s emotional distress. 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 forward to share their own negative experiences. While Lizzo notes it was never her intention ‘to make anyone feel uncomfortable,’ That is exactly what she did to the point of demoralizing her dancers and flagrantly violating the law.”
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