Lizzo, a Grammy-award-winning artist, has broken her silence for the first time since facing a lawsuit from former backup dancers that accused her of sexual harassment and creating hostile work conditions.
In an Instagram post early Thursday, Lizzo called the allegations "false."
"The last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing. 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," the artist said in the statement.
On Tuesday, three former backup dancers — Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez — filed a civil lawsuitin Los Angeles County Superior Court accusing Lizzo of subjecting them to sexual and religious harassment, weight-shaming and fostering a hostile work environment during her "Special" tour.
But in her statement, Lizzo says these dancers were told their behavior while on the job was not appropriate and that their stories are "sensationalized."
"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," said Lizzo. "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."
In addition to suing Lizzo, the dancers are also taking legal action against her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc., and the captain of her dance team, Shirlene Quigley.
During a Scripps News interview Wednesday, Arianna Davis, one of the dancers involved in the lawsuit, said that her experience working with Lizzo had a profoundly negative impact on her well-being.
"I don't know if it's fame or money or power that has, you know, kind of allowed her to lose herself," said Davis. "But I've never felt more conscious about myself or my body in my life than on this job. And I've never lost myself the way that I've lost myself on this job."
Ron Zambrano, the attorney representing all three plaintiffs, said these types of cases claiming abuse against actors, dancers or people on the bottom rung are not uncommon in the entertainment industry.
Scripps News has reached out to Lizzo and her team for a response to these allegations, but they have not responded.
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