It’s safe to say most of us were not feeling good as hell when news broke at the start of August that beloved positivity icon Lizzo was being sued by three of her backup dancers for a number of serious things.
The news about Lizzo broke amidst a true dumpster fire of pop culture scandals, including Doja Cat’s seemingly dragging her fans, rumours of Ariana Grande breaking up two marriages, and Cardi B throwing her mic at a concertgoer.
Because of this influx of some of our faves landing in hot water, you might have missed the finer details of what’s going on with the Lizzo situation, but don’t worry, we have you covered.
Please note this is an ongoing story, we will add updates as they emerge.
1st of August:
News breaks via NBC News that Lizzo, her production company, and her dance captain, Shirline Quigley, are being sued by three of her backup dancers. The dancers are Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis and Noelle Rodriguez, who worked with Lizzo from 2021 until 2023.
They met Lizzo when filming her reality TV show, Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls. They have accused Lizzo and others of body shaming, religious-based discrimination, and sexual misconduct. There are also allegations of unfair firing and racial bias.
The accusation of sexual misconduct directly applies to Lizzo, who allegedly, in a sex club in Amsterdam, pressured a dancer into physically engaging with a performer.
On the same day as allegations broke news, Beyoncé omitted Lizzo’s name from her song, Break My Soul (Queens Remix), at her Rennaissance World Tour stop in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
2nd of August:
In light of the news, other dancers and former collaborators of Lizzo’s come out in support of the dancers. A notable supporter is Sophia Nahli Allison, who was briefly attached to production on the 2022 HBO documentary Love Lizzo. A number of dancers not directly involved in the lawsuit shared their feelings about working under Lizzo, stating that she created a toxic work environment.
Arianna Davis, in an interview with TMZ, reveals that after gaining weight, she had a meeting with Lizzo where she was told “dancers get fired for gaining weight”. She was terminated after revealing to the team that she was struggling with an eating disorder.
3rd of August:
Lizzo responds to the allegations in an Instagram post. While the post has over one million likes, support for the singer was largely mixed. Her post is linked below.
Ron Zambrano, the lawyer for the initial three dancers, responds to Lizzo’s denial of allegations, saying, “Given Lizzo is denying that any of this happened, let’s take it to trial. More witnesses are coming forward every day corroborating the plaintiffs’ allegations, so we’re looking forward to facing Lizzo and her team in court.”
It is revealed that Lizzo is being represented by Marty Singer, a celebrity lawyer who has previously defended Bill Cosby, Charlie Sheen, Johnny Depp, Chris Brown, and Jonah Hill.
On the same day, TMZ obtained footage of Arianna Davis praising Lizzo after the alleged events she is suing Lizzo for took place. She would later release the following statement: “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.”
4th of August:
A day following Lizzo’s statement, Quigley issued a similar statement via her Instagram account. This was after sharing a religious video, something many found odd given allegations of religious discrimination in the lawsuit applied to her alone. Her post is linked below:
8th of August:
Lizzo’s first performance following news breaking of the lawsuit, a co-headlining slot with SZA at Jay-Z’s Made in America festival is cancelled. The entire event was cancelled due to “severe circumstances outside of production control,” according to a statement released by the organisers. It is not confirmed whether this was alluding to the ongoing lawsuit or other factors.
On the same day, Grimes tweeted support for Lizzo, claiming she found the allegations hard to believe.
9th of August:
Ron Zambrano, lawyer for the initial three dancers who launched the lawsuit, informs NBC News that his law firm is looking into allegations from a further six dancers. He added that some of the claims were potentially actionable and contained accusations of a “sexually charged environment” and failure to pay staff.
These six new claimants reportedly have toured with Lizzo and include other dancers, many of whom met Lizzo through her aforementioned TV show.
14th of August:
Beyoncé reinstates Lizzo’s name in her performance of Break My Soul (Queens Remix), adding ‘I love you, Lizzo’ at her tour date in Atlanta.
17th of August:
The crew of Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls released a letter in support of the singer.
23rd of August:
It is revealed that six months before news broke about this ongoing story, 14 other dancers who appeared in her HBO doc received a separate settlement. Dancers complained that the documentary used intimate footage discussing their experiences without consent or compensation.
On the same day, TMZ reports that Lizzo plans to sue the backup dancers who are taking her to court. Her attorney claims that images used to authenticate claims made by the dancers are from a different night on Lizzo’s tour in Paris, not Amsterdam.
25th of August:
Dua Lipa defends her choice to attend a strip club with Lizzo after the 2020 Grammys Awards in an interview with Vogue France, stating, “It is important to respect women’s choices.” Lil Nas X and Rosalía were also in attendance that evening.
26th of August:
Zambrano, in a statement on behalf of the dancers, engaged in the lawsuit, issues to Page Six: “Her team is merely trying to suppress the truth and hide her hypocrisy of publicising her brand as one of empowerment and body positivity while privately depriving women of their empowerment.”
“Lizzo’s threat to countersue for malicious prosecution is an insidious attempt at intimidation and delivers a chilling effect to all harassment victims in the workplace.”
2nd of September:
Lizzo shares photos flipping the bird. Some interpret this as being flippant about the ongoing situation.