Group of dancers defend Lizzo amid lawsuit: ‘Thank you’ for ‘shattering limitations’
Lizzo’s dance crew defended the singer in a letter posted on a social media Thursday amid a lawsuit from three former dancers who accuse Lizzo, her production company and another employee of “creating a hostile, abusive work environment.”
In a letter posted on Instagram Thursday, The Big Grrrls, Lizzo’s dance group, thanked the singer for “shattering limitations,” and pointed to “standards and existence of beauty” during the singer’s “The Special Tour.”
“THANK YOU to Lizzo for shattering limitations and kicking in the door way for the Big Grrrl and Big Boii Dancers to do what we love! You have created a platform where we have been able to parallel our Passion with a purpose! Not only for us, but for Women and All people breaking Barriers,” the letter wrote.
“So many advantages to prevailing over hardships that society and the entertainment and beauty industry can bring… So grateful that the standards and existence of Beauty in THIS Team goes beyond the surface!” the letter continued.
A trio of Lizzo’s former dancers filed a lawsuit earlier this month with claims they were “exposed to an overtly sexual atmosphere that permeated their workplace” while touring with the 35-year-old singer, whose real name is Melissa Jefferson.
The lawsuit on behalf of Arianna Davis, Noelle Rodriguez and Crystal Williams alleges Lizzo pressured some of the plaintiffs into engaging in a “severely uncomfortable” nude photo shoot and forced them into a “sexually charged and uncomfortable environment” with nude performers at an Amsterdam nightclub. Lizzo is also accused of requiring the trio to go through a “brutal” and “excruciating” 12-hour audition to keep their roles.
The plaintiffs said they felt pressured to go to an evening out in Amsterdam at a nightclub so they did not risk their jobs as dancers on her “Special Tour.” The lawsuit claims the events at the nightclub “quickly got out of hand.”
“Lizzo began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers,” the lawsuit wrote and she “began to pressure a member of her security team to participate in the night’s debauchery.”
Both Davis and Williams were former contestants on the Amazon Prime Video series “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls,” where the singer searched for dancers to join her group of backup dancers on tour.
The lawsuit also alleges Lizzo required cast members to “re-audition” for their tour spots after accusing some of the members of drinking before performances.
The lawsuit alleges Lizzo, who was known for promoting body positivity, expressed concerns over one of the plaintiffs appearing “less bubbly and vivacious,” which the lawsuit claims were actually “thinly veiled concerns about Ms. Davis’s weight gain which Lizzo had previously called attention to after noticing it at the South by Southwest music festival.”
Lizzo’s production company is also accused of treating Black performers differently than the rest of the cast members.
Lizzo later responded to the lawsuit, refuting claims about how she is portrayed.
“I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days,” the “About Damn Time,” singer wrote on Instagram. “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.”