Lizzo is slamming her ex-dancers’ lawsuit — and asking the court to toss it. In a new motion filed Friday, the singer’s team described the allegations of fat-shaming and harassment from her former dancers as a “fabricated sob story” filed to get a “quick payday.”
In the motion, Lizzo’s team alleged that the ex-dancers who filed the suit had shown a “pattern of gross misconduct” while working with the singer.
“Plaintiffs missed flights, arrived late and hungover to rehearsals and drunk to performances, entered into consensual sexual relationships with male crew members on tour, exhibited a rapid decline in the quality of their dancing and professionalism, and ultimately conspired to make and disseminate an unauthorized recording of a creative meeting with Lizzo and the dance cast,” reads the filing obtained by Rolling Stone.
The new motion asks the court to dismiss the lawsuit under the anti-SLAPP statute, which protects free speech by tossing meritless lawsuits that threaten it. The three plaintiffs — Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis, and Noelle Rodriguez — filed their lawsuit against Lizzo in August, accusing her of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment stemming from incidents that allegedly took place beginning in 2021 and through 2023.
In response to Lizzo’s motion, the plaintiffs’ attorney Neama Rahmani spoke out aginst the motion saying that “filming a reality TV show doesn’t give Lizzo the right to break the law.”
“Even a first-year law student can see that ‘free speech’ does not cover Lizzo and her team’s illegal sexual harassment and racial, religious, and disability discrimination,” Rahmani wrote in a statement sent to Rolling Stone. “The defense’s declarants are either defendants accused of wrongdoing, or people who are on Lizzo’s payroll, and their statements can’t be considered by the judge. That’s a question for the jury.”
“Our clients have dozens of independent witnesses who support their stories, and we continue to receive inquiries from other former Lizzo employees who want to be new plaintiffs,” Rahmani added.
Lizzo’s motion includes 18 written declarations from Lizzo staffers — including former dancers, band members, and tour managers — which support the singer, including defenses against allegations that she fat-shamed one of the dancers and that she pressured them to attend a sexually explicit show at Bananenbar in Amsterdam.
“To the contrary, everyone on the tour was genuinely concerned about Davis, not because she had gained weight, but because she was lax about her performances, her hygiene and her health,” read a declaration from bassist Zuri Appleby. “[Her weight gain] was concerning because it was affecting the quality of her performance and her energy level, and not because she looked different… Lizzo met with her to give her the opportunity to start focusing on her health and to offer her support and tools to do so, which was a blessing because she could have been sent home without warning because she was not meeting the standards for her job.”
Another dancer also claimed that she “never saw anyone, including plaintiffs, being weight shamed or body shamed” and that Lizzo “inspired all of us to celebrate” their bodies. Dancer Melissa Locke also said that she spoke with two of the plaintiffs and alleged that “they never said they felt uncomfortable or pressured” at the Amsterdam bar and that they were “very enthusiastic about what a great night they had.”
Lizzo attorney Martin D. Singer wrote that Lizzo gave the dancers a “leg up” and “an incredible opportunity to take their careers to the next level” by welcoming both on the Big Grrls reality show and The Special Tour.
“Plaintiffs had it all and they blew it,” Singer wrote. “Instead of taking any accountability for their own actions, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against Defendants out of spite and in pursuit of media attention, public sympathy and a quick payday with minimal effort.”
Some of the declarations also defended Shirlene Quigley, the dance captain, who was accused of forcing her religion on other dancers.
In late September, Lizzo asked the court to dismiss the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the three former dancers denying “each and every allegation” made. Otherwise, Lizzo seeks a trial by jury to fight the lawsuit.
Lizzo’s legal team also claimed the three dancers suing her “are guilty of unclean hands,” a legal term meaning that they are not entitled to any damages because they themselves failed to perform under the terms of their contracts.
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