Lizzo breaks her silence on ‘unbelievable and outrageous’ accusations of sexual harassment and bullying – and finally addresses THOSE banana sex act allegations
- READ MORE: Lizzo’s dance captain Shirlene Quigley takes to Instagram thanking God following lawsuit accusation
Lizzo has dismissed the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against her as ‘unbelievable’ and ‘outrageous’ as she broke her silence on the claims.
The Good As Hell hitmaker, 35, is being sued by three of her former backing dancers for alleged sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment and discrimination and on Thursday, she took to Instagram to break her silence.
Lizzo insisted the claims are untrue and insisted her accusers had previously been warned about their own ‘inappropriate and unprofessional’ conduct.
She also finally addressed THOSE banana sex act allegations which claimed the singer invited cast members to eat bananas from nude performers’ vaginas while in Amsterdam.
Lizzo wrote in a statement: ‘These last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing.
Breaking her silence: Lizzo branded the sexual harassment lawsuit against her ‘unbelievable and outrageous’ in a statement posted to Instagram on Thursday (stock image)
Fruity! The singer, 35, also finally addressed THOSE banana sex act allegations, saying: ‘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’
‘My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized. Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not 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.
‘As an artist I have always been very passionate about what I do. I take my music and my performances seriously because at the end of the day I only want to put out the best art that represents me and my fans.
‘With passion comes hard work and high standards. 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.
‘l am not here to be looked at as a victim, but I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days.
‘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.
‘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.’
Lizzo’s statement in full: The singer addressed all the claims and said her morals and values have been called into question
Plaintiffs Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez have accused Grammy-winning winner – as well as the Big Grrrl Big Touring and dance team captain Shirlene Quigley – of creating a ‘sexually charged and uncomfortable’ work environment in their lawsuit
The trio claim while on a concert trip with the Grammy Award-winning artist to Amsterdam in February 2023, Lizzo invited them for a night out on the town that ended in the city’s Red Light District.
They said in their filing: ‘Things quickly got out of hand. Lizzo began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.’
The dancers added Lizzo allegedly ‘pressured’ and ‘goaded’ Arianna into touching one of the nude performer’s breasts.
She refused multiple times, while the popstar allegedly chanted louder and louder to encourage her to do the act, the lawsuit claimed. She eventually did touch the performer.
In another instance, the plaintiffs claim Lizzo invited the dancers to a club in Paris – but failed to mention that it was a nude cabaret bar. This ‘shocked’ the dancers, who said Lizzo ‘robbed them of the choice not to participate,’ the suit said.
Lizzo also allegedly made a claim the dancers were drinking before performances, which Williams then spoke out about. The popstar allegedly made the group go through an ‘excruciating’ 12-hour rehearsal.
Arianna, meanwhile, soiled her pants during the intense rehearsal because she was so fearful she’d lose her job, the documents state. She was then handed a see-through outfit with no undergarments to finish the performance, the suit said.
Rodriguez complained to a manager about the decision to publicly fire Williams, after Lizzo had told the group she had ‘eyes and ears everywhere.’
Davis recorded the meeting on April 27, because she claimed she suffers from an eye condition that leaves her disoriented.
But as a result, Lizzo held a meeting and had security confiscate dancers’ phones, the lawsuit claimed.
When Davis tried to tell Lizzo and Quigley she meant no harm recording the meeting, they berated her and Lizzo fired her on the spot, the suit read.
Rodriguez then expressed how she felt disrespected and threatened to resign – to which Lizzo said she was ‘lucky.’
When Rodriguez did indeed quit, Lizzo showed her two middle fingers and yelled a slur at her, the lawsuit claimed.
Oh dear: Lizzo has been accused of encouraging ‘catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas’
Claims: Arianna Davis (pictured) claimed she soiled her pants during an intense rehearsal because she was so fearful she’d lose her job
Plaintiff: Crystal Williams (pictured) spoke out against allegations Lizzo made that the dancers were drinking before their performances. She was fired a few days later
Legal battle: The dancers’ claims can be seen in court documents
Since the lawsuit, Lizzo has lost over 120,000 followers on Instagram.
Casino comparison site KingCasinoBonus analysed data on Lizzo’s social channels via Social Blade, revealing a loss of 123,489 followers on Instagram since the news broke.
In just one day, the singer’s follower count fell by a huge 88,885. While on Twitter/X, Lizzo has lost over 14,000 followers since the lawsuit was filed in California on August 1.
Ron Zambrano, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said in a statement: ‘The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly, while privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are not only illegal but absolutely demoralizing.’
READ MORE: Lizzo lawsuit: Singer at center of MORE allegations after banana sex act accusations as director says ‘abuse of power’ forced her to quit and ANOTHER dancer speaks out
Hours after the lawsuit news was made public, Lizzo’s her former creative director Quinn Whitney Wilson and dancer Courtney Hollinquest claimed they experienced similar mistreatment.
Courtney said on her Instagram on Tuesday: ‘For clarification, I’m not a part of the lawsuit – but this was very much my experience in my time there.
‘Big shoutout to the dancers who had the courage to bring this to light.’
Quinn shared a screenshot online of Courtney’s statement to her own social media page, saying she was ‘echoing’ everything that was already said.
She added: ‘I haven’t been a part of that world for around three years, for a reason.
‘I very much applaud the dancers courage to bring this to light. and I grieve parts of my own experience.’
‘I’d appreciate space to understand my feelings.’
A 2019 interview in which Lizzo made pointed remarks involving her interest in seeing bananas incorporated into sex acts has also resurfaced following news of the lawsuit.
The Grammy Award-winning performer in 2019 spoke with 3FM Gemist Frank van der Lende about the racy ongoings she’d observed while visiting Amsterdam’s Red Light District on past tours.
The songstress, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, said that one show consisted of ‘people f***ing’ in front of an audience, which she described as both ‘crazy’ and ‘beautiful.’
The Detroit native added in the chat, ‘I’m trying to go to the show where you eat the banana out the p***** – which one is that?’ to which van der Lende told her it was the Bananenbar.
The Truth Hurts artist said, ‘Oh, that’s the Bananenbar? And they have the banana in the coochie and you have to’ bite on it.
She added, ‘I need my potassium if you know what I’m saying – my p***-tassium.’
Lizzo’s rise to prominence
Woes: The rise and fall of Lizzo: How HAS the pop icon gone from being a champion of body positivity and feminism to the verge of cancellation for body shaming?
Shocking: The feminist icon’s career is hanging in the balance after being sued by three backup dancers accusing her of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment
Born Melissa Jefferson, Lizzo is best known as a US singer and rapper, who kickstarted her career with her hits Juice and Good As Hell in 2019.
Her music career first took off while she was living in Minneapolis, and she received huge support from legendary artist Prince.
READ MORE: Lizzo’s dance captain Shirlene Quigley takes to Instagram thanking God following lawsuit accusations of attempting to convert dancers to Christianity
During her rise to stardom, Lizzo performed with many different groups and duos, forming an electro soul-pop duo called Lizzo and the Larva Inks, as well as an all-female rap and R&B group, The Chalice.
Her father, Michael, passed away when she was 21, and following his death, Lizzo struggled with her mental mental health and lived in her car while pursuing music as a career.
When her song Truth Hurts flopped in 2017, Lizzo admitted she came dangerously close to quitting music and sought therapy, telling The Times in 2020: ‘That was really scary.
‘But being vulnerable with someone I didn’t know, then learning how to be vulnerable with people that I do know, gave me the courage to be vulnerable as a vocalist.’
The tracks that made Lizzo a star were a far cry from her original career path as a classical flutist, though she regularly shows off her skills on-stage.
Her first major label album Cuz I Love You, made it into the Billboard Top Ten, a featured the one-flopped track Truth Hurts, which received a huge resurgence despite originally being released in 2017.
Lizzo released her second mainstream album, Special, in 2022, which featured one of her most well-known tracks About Damn Time, which soared to number one on the US charts.
A body positivity advocate
Confident! Ever since her career began, Lizzo has been praised for advocating body positivity and confidence, no matter your size or shape
Ever since her career began, Lizzo has been praised for advocating body positivity and confidence, no matter your size or shape.
She’s never shied away from flaunting her curves in a slew of sexy and revealing looks, whether it be on-stage, the red carpet, or Instagram.
But in a previous interview with Vogue, she revealed that she would prefer to be known for being ‘body-normative,’ rather than ‘body positive’.
She said: ‘I think it’s lazy for me to just say I’m body positive at this point…I would like to be body-normative. I want to normalize my body.’
The star also added that she’s ready to continue paving the way for ‘girls with back fat’ and ‘girls with bellies that hang’ saying, ‘I owe it to the people who started this to not just stop here.
‘We have to make people uncomfortable again, so that we can continue to change. Change is always uncomfortable, right?’
Lizzo is also no stranger to defending herself and the body positivity movement, appearing on The Zane Lowe Show in August 2021, saying: ‘People saying s**t about me that just doesn’t even make sense. It’s fat-phobic, and it’s racist, and it’s hurtful.
‘If you don’t like my music, cool. If you don’t like Rumors, the song, cool. But a lot of people don’t like me because of the way I look.’
She also said, ‘It’s like it doesn’t matter how much positive energy you put into the world, you’re still going to have people who have … something mean to say about you.
‘And for the most part, it doesn’t hurt my feelings—I don’t care. I just think when I’m working this hard, my tolerance gets lower. My patience is lower. I’m more sensitive, and it gets to me.
‘I’m only going to focus on positive comments from here on out. I don’t have time for your negativity, your internalised self-hatred that you project onto me with your racism and fatphobia. I don’t have time for it. Anyways, I’m going to continue to be me. I’m going to continue to be a bad b*tch.’
Hitting back at fat-shamers
Outraged: As an advocate for body positivity, Lizzo has been forced to hit back at trolls on multiple occasions, even threatening to quit music altogether
As an advocate for body positivity, Lizzo has been forced to hit back at trolls on multiple occasions, even threatening to quit music altogether after falling victim to fat-shaming critics.
In May 2023, she was left incensed after seeing a mean comment online from author Layah Heilpern which read: ‘How is Lizzo still THIS fat when she’s constantly moving this much on stage?! I wonder what she must be eating.’
READ MORE: Lizzo’s backup dancer shared cryptic post about being disrespected and underserved three months before suing singer
Reposting the comment, Lizzo wrote: ‘JUST logged on and the app and this is the type of s**t I see about me on a daily basis It’s really starting to make me hate the world.
‘Then someone in the comments said I eat ‘lots of fast food’ I LITERALLY STOPPED EATING FAST FOOD YEARS AGO… I’m tired of explaining myself all the time and I just wanna get on this app w/out seeing my name in some bulls**t.
The star added that she ‘hated’ Twitter and said ‘this is what my body looks like when I’m eating clean and working out.’
Lizzo has also called out ‘fake doctors’ who tried to diagnose people who were struggling with their weight on TikTok, and also shut down rumours she’d ‘killed someone’ by stage-diving at her concert.
When a nude image of her body resurfaced, an internet troll attempted to body-shame Lizzo via Twitter, but it quickly backfired as fans rallied round to support her.
A feminist icon
Speaking out: Along with promoting body positivity, Lizzo has been vocal about the double standards pegged on women in the industry
Along with promoting body positivity, Lizzo has been vocal about the double standards pegged on women in the industry, balking at the idea that she is ‘brave’ for embracing her figure.
When speaking to Glamour as part of the publication’s ‘F’ word series, Lizzo expressed frustration when people use the word ‘brave’ to describe the confidence she exudes.
‘When people look at my body and be like, ‘Oh my God, she’s so brave,” it’s like, ‘No, I’m not,” Lizzo said. ‘I’m just fine. I’m just me. I’m just sexy.’
She then mentioned how a double standard can exist with other women in the industry depending on their body type.
‘If you saw Anne Hathaway in a bikini on a billboard, you wouldn’t call her brave,’ Lizzo said. ‘I just think there’s a double standard when it comes to women.’
In an interview with Vanity Fair in 2022, Lizzo added that her wild and colourful stage outfits are also helping her make a statement.
She said: ‘I wanted to be like a dancer, and also it was kind of political and feminist in my eyes to have me, a full-figured dancer, wearing leotards, showing and celebrating curves and being Olympian in strength, endurance, and flexibility. ‘
Plaudits for her groundbreaking series…
Lauded: In 2022, Lizzo was praised by viewers for her groundbreaking new Amazon reality series, Watch Out For The Big Grrls
In 2022, Lizzo was praised by viewers for her groundbreaking new Amazon reality series, Watch Out For The Big Grrls.
The series follows Lizzo as she tries to put together a team of backup dancers who look more like her than the usual stick-thin dancers other musicians hire.
‘I needed big girls more than I needed a television show,’ she said of her show, explaining that she had trouble finding dancers who matched her size.
‘I didn’t see me reflected in the dancers and then one day I said, ‘You know what motherf***er, if I gotta get a TV show to bring some awareness for this, then pull up my sleeves and let’s go,” she recounted at the SXSW festival earlier this month.
She also said that her series would distinguish itself from other reality shows by not forcing the contestants to resort to cruelty to get a leg up on the competition.
‘It was also important that I changed the narrative of what a reality competition television show looks like,’ Lizzo explained. ‘We don’t always have to be cruel, we can be kind. We don’t have to pit people against each other.’
She continued, ‘I feel like it’s hard enough in the dance world already for girls who look like me, so why would I create that environment in my space? If I had the power to change that, why not change that?’
The series earned widespread critical acclaim, and won Outstanding Directing for a Reality Programme at the Emmy Awards.
… but a lawsuit brings backstage claims to the surface
Lawsuit: The original lawsuit accuses Lizzo of allegedly ‘inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers,’ inside an Amsterdam strip club
Omitted: Hours after the lawsuit came to light, Beyonce left out her name from the lyrics of her remixed version of Break My Soul
While on the outside, Lizzo’s series was praised for its body positive image, over a year later, perceptions have changed.
In August 2023 it was revealed that she is being sued by three of her former backup dancers who accused her of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
The plaintiffs – her former dancers – are named in the lawsuit as Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez. Williams and Davis both appeared on the recent Amazon Prime reality show ‘Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls’ – about the singer’s quest to find backup dancers.
Hours after it came to light, Beyonce left out her name from the lyrics of her remixed version of Break My Soul.
The lyric mentioning Lizzo goes: ‘Betty Davis, Solange Knowles / [Erykah Badu], Lizzo, Kelly Rowl’ (You know you can do it).’
But in concert footage shared to Twitter, Beyonce purposely replaces Lizzo’s name with four repetitions of ‘Badu.’
Being branded a ‘narcissistic bully’
Opening up: After coming forward with her own claims, director Sophia Nahli Allison has branded Lizzo a ‘narcissistic bully’ as she doubled down on the singer’s ‘toxic’ behaviour
Speaking out: Allison followed it up on her Instagram Stories on Wednesday, alleging Lizzo’s brand was merely a ‘curated facade’
After coming forward with her own claims, director Sophia Nahli Allison has branded Lizzo a ‘narcissistic bully’ as she doubled down on the singer’s ‘toxic’ behaviour.
Allison, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, shed more light about what she allegedly experienced while working with Lizzo on a documentary back in 2019.
Alleging Lizzo’s brand was merely a ‘curated facade’, Allison shared her solidarity with those who endured ‘similar experiences’ working with the artist and her team.
‘To be clear,’ she Allison posted on her stories. ‘Since I’ve spoken out, I’ve had others privately share their very similar experiences, and I have also been affirmed by people who witnessed what I went through.
‘Lizzo creates an extremely toxic and hostile working environment and undermines the work, labor, and authority of other black and brown womxn in the process. (Notice how the documentary ended up being directed by a cis white man.)
‘She is a narcissistic bully and has build her brand off of lies. I was excited to support and protect a Black woman through the documentary process but quickly learned her image and ‘message’ was a curated facade.
‘I stand with the dancers and anyone who has had similar experiences working with her and her team. These working conditions are not OK.’
Resurfaced lyrics raise eyebrows
Dropping hints? Following the news of Lizzo’s lawsuit, resurfaced lyrics to her 2021 track Rumors have drawn attention due to references to NDAs and ‘cutting some h**s loose’
Following the news of Lizzo’s lawsuit, resurfaced lyrics to her 2021 track Rumors have drawn more attention due to the song’s references to NDAs and ‘cutting some h**s loose.’
The song was a collaboration between the Truth Hurts performer and rapper Cardi B, which jumped onto the Billboard Top 10 chart at the time of its release.
Nearly 30 seconds into the track, Lizzo sings, ‘Had to cut some h**s loose, yeah/ NDA, no loose lips/ Now them h**s tryna sue me/ B***h I don’t give two s***s/ All the rumors are true, yeah.’
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