Lizzo wears a formal black dress with white beading while posing for photos at the 2023 Met Gala

Lizzo Responds to Dancer Allegations, Hires Notorious Celebrity Defense Lawyer

Two days after three of her former dancers filed a lawsuit for alleged sexual, religious, and racial harassment (among other claims), Lizzo has responded with a statement, shared to her various social media accounts.

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“My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized,” the statement reads. “Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous not to be addressed. 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.”

Lizzo goes on to talk about how “seriously” she takes her music and performances, stating, “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.” The singer then says she does not want to be seen as a victim but also states, “I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days.”

Since the lawsuit was first reported by NBC News on Tuesday, people have come out of the woodwork to talk about the allegations against Lizzo, which in addition to harassment include creating a hostile work environment, false imprisonment, and even body-shaming. Commenters have made racist, misogynistic, and fatphobic comments about Lizzo, which happens any time she does anything. Regardless of her actions, hateful comments about her skin color, gender, and weight are not okay.

Lizzo has been at the center of more than one controversy over the course of her career. In the past, she’s argued with critics of her former partnership with diet company WW and she apologized for writing an ableist slur into one of her singles, which she promptly removed. These new allegations are even more severe, leading to significantly more outrage. Beyoncé even dropped the Lizzo shout-out during a recent live performance of the “Break My Soul” remix.

Yet there is no apology in Lizzo’s statement. Furthermore, she only addresses two of the claims made in the lawsuit against her. “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 statement reads. “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.

“I’m hurt but I will not let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time,” she concludes.

There’s nothing about the other allegations in the suit, and what she writes here only addresses the claim that she pressured her dancers to interact with nude performers at a burlesque club and further pressured them to eat bananas out of the performers’ vaginas, as well as the claim that she body-shamed one of the dancers who was fired earlier this year. We can only assume she was coached by her legal team when writing this statement, or that it was written entirely by her publicity team—either way, it centers Lizzo rather than the people she supposedly harmed, which is never the right approach.

In addition to releasing this statement, Lizzo has hired lawyer Marty Singer—whose client list includes Bill Cosby, Bryan Singer, and Jonah Hill—for her defense team. On Thursday, TMZ shared a video of Arianna Davis, one of the dancers named in the suit, praising Lizzo seemingly after she was fired from Lizzo’s dance crew in April. Singer told TMZ, “These do not sound like the words of someone who was harassed or discriminated against by someone they described as ‘THE QUEEN.’ They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and here a video shows that there are no legitimate claims in this lawsuit. We are confident that Lizzo will be completely vindicated in this matter.”

It’s worth noting that in many instances of trauma, survivors are unable to fully process the extent of what happened to them until after they’ve had distance from those events. Following her video’s release on TMZ, Davis said, “Right up until the last minute I didn’t realize how bad it was and how much I was being taken advantage of. I just genuinely wanted to save my job. This video further explains how much I was trying to please Lizzo.”

(featured image: Jeff Kravitz, FilmMagic)


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Samantha Puc
Samantha Puc (she/they) is a fat, disabled, lesbian writer and editor who has been working in digital and print media since 2010. Their work focuses primarily on LGBTQ+ and fat representation in pop culture and their writing has been featured on Refinery29, Bitch Media, them., and elsewhere. Samantha is the co-creator of Fatventure Mag and she contributed to the award-winning Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. They are an original cast member of Death2Divinity, and they are currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction at The New School. When Samantha is not working or writing, she loves spending time with her cats, reading, and perfecting her grilled cheese recipe.