Lizzo’s request to have a sexual harassment lawsuit against her dismissed was denied.
Backup dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez have made a series of allegations against the 35-year-old superstar, her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc.; and dance team captain Shirlene Quigley, including being pressured by Lizzo to touch nude performers while at a club in Amsterdam and forced to endure weight loss.
Lizzo tried to throw out the lawsuit Friday, but a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that the case go forward.
“We’re very pleased with the judge’s ruling, and we absolutely consider it a win on balance,” Davis, Williams and Rodriguez’s attorney Ron Zambrano said in a statement to People.
Lizzo’s request to have a sexual harassment lawsuit against her dismissed was denied; seen in November 2023; taken in September 2023
He explained that Judge Mark H. Epstein “dismissed a number of allegations,” including that Davis was fat-shamed, a nude photo shoot and dancers being forced to “retire” while not on tour .
However, he pointed out: ‘All the other claims remain, including sexual, religious and racial discrimination, sexual harassment, the humiliating visits to the Banana Bar in Amsterdam and Crazy Horse in Paris, false imprisonment and assault. The ruling also rightly suggests that Lizzo – or any celebrity – is not insulated from this kind of reprehensible behavior simply because she is famous. We now look forward to conducting discovery and preparing the case for trial.’
Stefan Friedman, a spokesperson for Lizzo, told Entertainment Tonight: ‘We are pleased that Judge Epstein wisely threw out all or part of four of the plaintiffs’ causes of action. Lizzo is grateful to the judge for seeing through a lot of the noise and seeing who she is – a strong woman who exists to lift others up and spread positivity. We plan to appeal all elements the judge chose to keep in the lawsuit and are confident we will prevail.’
In October, Lizzo’s legal team branded the lawsuit filed by her former dancers a “manufactured sob story” launched by “opportunists.”
‘Plaintiffs went on a press tour, defamed defendants and pushed their fabricated sob story in the courts and in the media. It ends today,’ attorney Martin D. Singer wrote in documents by Billboard.
He continued: ‘Instead of accepting any responsibility for their own actions, plaintiffs brought this lawsuit against defendants out of spite and in pursuit of media attention, public sympathy and a quick payday with minimal effort.’
The lawyers also included affidavits from 18 members of Lizzo’s tour party that dispute many of the lawsuit’s specific accusations, including allegations that she body-shamed some of her dancers.
One of the dancers recalled: ‘I never saw anyone, including complainants, weight-shaming or body-shaming.’
Backing dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez have made a series of allegations against the superstar, her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc.; and dance team captain Shirlene Quigley, including being pressured by Lizzo to touch nude performers while at a club in Amsterdam and forced to endure weight loss. (viewed in July 2023)
Lizzo tried to get the lawsuit out of the way, but on Friday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that the case go forward; pictured last year
The individual then said that the Good As Hell singer maintained a professional demeanor while interacting with other dancers.
“Lizzo inspired us all to celebrate and love ourselves and our bodies as we are,” they wrote.
The Juice singer’s team wants the case dismissed immediately under California’s so-called anti-SLAPP statute — which makes it easier to quickly end meritless lawsuits that threaten free speech and is more typically used in defamation cases — because of the creative nature of Lizzo’s work.
Her lawyers wrote: ‘The complaint – and the plaintiffs’ carefully choreographed media blitz surrounding its filing – is a brazen attempt to silence defendants’ creative voices and weaponize their creative expression against them.’
Attorneys for the accusers, Crystal Williams, Noelle Rodriguez and Arianna Davis, dismissed the motion to dismiss.
Neama Rahmani of West Coast Employment Lawyers said in a statement to Billboard: ‘Even a first-year law student can see that ‘free speech’ does not cover Lizzo and her team’s unlawful sexual harassment and racial, religious and disability discrimination.’
“We’re very pleased with the judge’s ruling, and we absolutely consider it a win on balance,” Davis, Williams and Rodriguez’s attorney Ron Zambrano said in a statement to People; seen in 2023
She added: ‘Filming a reality TV show does not give Lizzo the right to break the law.’
“The defense’s declarants are either defendants charged with wrongdoing, or people who are on Lizzo’s payroll, and their statements cannot be considered by the judge,” she said.
Rahmani concluded by saying that West Coast Employment Lawyers had also been contacted by several individuals who had allegedly been abused by the singer.
“Our clients have dozens of independent witnesses supporting their stories, and we continue to receive inquiries from other former Lizzo employees who want to be new plaintiffs,” she said.