Lizzo’s request to have a sexual harassment lawsuit against her dismissed has been denied.
Back-up 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 that they were pressured by Lizzo into touching nude performers while at a club in Amsterdam and forced to endure weight shaming.
Lizzo had tried to get the lawsuit thrown out but on Friday, but a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that the case will go forward.
‘We’re very pleased with the judge’s ruling, and we absolutely consider it a victory on balance,’ Davis, Williams and Rodriguez’s attorney Ron Zambrano told People in a statement.
Lizzo’s request to have a sexual harassment lawsuit against her dismissed has been denied; seen in November 2023; pictured in September 2023
He explained that judge Mark H. Epstein ‘did dismiss a few allegations,’ including Davis being fat-shamed, a naked photo shoot, and dancers being forced to be on ‘hold’ while not on tour.
Still, he pointed out: ‘All the other claims remain, including sexual, religious and racial discrimination, sexual harassment, the demeaning visits to the Bananenbar in Amsterdam and Crazy Horse in Paris, false imprisonment, and assault. The ruling also rightfully signals that Lizzo – or any celebrity – is not insulated from this sort of reprehensible conduct merely because she is famous. We now look forward to conducting discovery and preparing the case for trial.’
Stefan Friedman, a spokesman 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 much 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 that 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 as a ‘fabricated sob story’ launched by ‘opportunists.’
‘Plaintiffs embarked on a press tour, vilifying defendants and pushing their fabricated sob story in the courts and in the media. That ends today,’ attorney Martin D. Singer wrote in documents by Billboard.
He continued: ‘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.’
The lawyers also included sworn statements from 18 members of Lizzo’s touring party which dispute many of the lawsuit’s specific accusations, including allegations she had body-shamed some of her dancers.
One of the dancers recalled: ‘I never saw anyone, including plaintiffs, being weight shamed or body shamed.’
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 that they were pressured by Lizzo into touching nude performers while at a club in Amsterdam and forced to endure weight shaming. (seen in July 2023)
Lizzo had tried to get the lawsuit thrown out but on Friday, but a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that the case will go forward; pictured last year
The individual then stated that the Good As Hell singer had maintained a professional attitude when interacting with other dancers.
‘Lizzo inspired all of us to celebrate and love ourselves and our bodies as we are,’ they wrote.
The Juice singer’s team wants the case to be dismissed immediately under California’s so-called anti-SLAPP statute – which makes it easier to quickly end meritless lawsuits that threaten free speech and are more typically used in defamation cases – because of the creative nature of Lizzo’s work.
Her lawyers wrote: ‘The complaint — and plaintiffs’ carefully choreographed media blitz surrounding its filing — is a brazen attempt to silence defendants’ creative voices and weaponize their creative expression against them.’
Lawyers for the accusers, Crystal Williams, Noelle Rodriguez and Arianna Davis, have blasted the motion to dismiss.
Neama Rahmani of West Coast Employment Lawyers told Billboard in a statement: ‘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.’
‘We’re very pleased with the judge’s ruling, and we absolutely consider it a victory on balance,’ Davis, Williams and Rodriguez’s attorney Ron Zambrano told People in a statement; seen in 2023
She added: ‘Filming a reality TV show doesn’t give Lizzo the right to break the law.’
‘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,’ she said.
Rahmani concluded by stating that West Coast Employment Lawyers had also been contacted by various individuals who had allegedly been mistreated by the singer.
‘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,’ she said.