She continued: I was listening to this Black woman on this huge stage have this message of self-love and caring for others and being empathetic and being strong and standing up for others. And I was witnessing myself, the dancers and the background vocalists and my local team in every city be harassed and bullied regularly.”
The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court Thursday by Daniels’ legal team. In the suit, the plaintiff also accuses wardrobe manager Amanda Nomura of doing banal impersonations of Black women and calling performers “fat,” “useless” and “dumb.” The suit further states Nomura forced them to change in front of a crew made up of primarily White men, who would “lewdly gawk” at them.
After Daniels complained about what she endured, she was fired, the suit says.
Meanwhile, a Lizzo spokesperson says Zambrano is simply trying to “sully” an honor the 35-year-old Michigan native was set to receive Thursday evening at the Black Music Action Coalition Gala. At the event, Lizzo was awarded the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award for her philanthropy and work in social justice.
“We will pay this as much attention as it deserves,” the spokesperson, Stefan Friedman, said. “None.”
In the suit, the dancers allege that Lizzo pressured one of them to touch a nude performer in Amsterdam and subjected dancers to an “excruciating” audition after she accused them of drinking on the job.
Lizzo has long been known to promote body positivity but has been accused of berating a dancer because of her weight gain. The suit claims that the dancer was later fired because of a health condition.
The suit, obtained by NBC News, was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. It alleges Lizzo’s dance team captain, Shirlene Quigley, also engaged in inappropriate actions, including cajoling other performers, ridiculing those who had premarital sex, sharing lewd sexual fantasies, simulating oral sex and publicly speaking about the virginity of one of the dancers.
The suit’s plaintiffs – Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez – represented by attorney Ron Zambrano, names Melissa Viviane Jefferson (Lizzo’s legal name), her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., and Quigley as defendants.
The suit accuses Lizzo and her team of religious and racial harassment, false imprisonment and interference with prospective economic advantage, among and other allegations.
“The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly, while privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are not only illegal but absolutely demoralizing,” Zambrano said in a statement.
“The words that we say have a long-lasting effect on people,” Lizzo told the fan who said she has been the subject of bullying.