After nearly two years on the road, Lizzo has just concluded The Special Tour with its final date on Niigata, Japan taking place on Sunday, July 30, 2023.
Immediately after the tour ended, Lizzo was hit with a bombshell lawsuit from three former dancers alleging overall mistreatment, weight-shaming, and sexual harassment, among other things. Then, other notable people started to share their experiences with the “Juice” singer – both making new allegations and uncovering past remarks.
As reported by NBC News, three former dancers who worked with Lizzo on tour have filed a lawsuit against the singer and her production company. The suit alleges “sexual harassment” and a “hostile work environment.” The plaintiffs included in the lawsuit include Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez.
According to the report, “In addition to accusations of a hostile work environment and sexual harassment, the suit brings claims for religious and racial harassment, false imprisonment, interference with prospective economic advantage, and other allegations.”
Specific accusations include Lizzo allegedly “pressuring” the dancers to go to a strip club in Amsterdam and touch naked performers on stage. Staff members of the touring company are being sued for allegedly making comments “charged with racial and fat-phobic animus.”
The suit also cites that two dancers were fired between April and May 2023, detailing one incident where Davis secretly recorded a meeting with Lizzo. The singer allegedly “became furious, hurling expletives at the group and stated that she was going to go around the room, person-by-person until someone told [her] who made the recording.”
Lizzo’s former documentary director speaks out against the singer.
Oscar-nominated director Sophia Nahli Allison, best known for 2019’s A Love Song for Latasha, was originally attached to helm the Love, Lizzo documentary released on (née HBO) Max. After Allison quietly exited the project at the time, Doug Pray was tapped to direct the film, which was released in November 2022.
Immediately after reports hit the press about the dancers’ bombshell lawsuit against Lizzo, Allison shared a post on Twitter (now X) speaking out about her experiences with the singer while still working on the Love, Lizzo documentary. “In 2019, I traveled a bit with Lizzo to be the director of her documentary,” Alisson wrote. “I walked away after about two weeks. I was treated with such disrespect by her.”
The director continued, “I witnessed how arrogant, self-centered, and unkind she is. I was not protected and was thrown into a sh*tty situation with little support. My spirit said to run as fast as you f*cking can and I’m so grateful I trusted my gut.”
“I felt gaslit and was deeply hurt, but I’ve healed,” Allison concluded. “Reading these reports made me realize how dangerous of a situation it was. This kind of abuse of power happens far too often. Much love and support to the dancers.”
Activist Ola Ojewumi recalls her experience at a Lizzo concert in 2017.
Another individual who has spoken out is activist Ola Ojewumi, whose work focuses on people with disabilities. “I defended Lizzo from racism, misogynoir, and fatphobia in the past,” Ojewumi wrote on X. “I hesitated to discuss my personal experience with her and her team at a concert. I was trampled by a man in my wheelchair at her DC show in 2017. They saw it and brought him on stage with her anyway.”
She added, “Lizzo DM-ed me a standard legal note taking no responsibility denying she saw a man in platform heels climb on my legs while seated in my wheelchair. Her dancers pulled him off me and brought him on stage to dance with her. Lizzo said she’d meet me in DC and never followed through.”
Beyoncé skips Lizzo’s name in “Break My Soul” remix during a live performance.
Beyoncé is currently on the road with The Renaissance Tour. On a concert that took place on Tuesday, August 1 – just hours after the lawsuit against Lizzo broke in the media – Queen Bey took to the stage and sang a slightly modified version of “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)”.
For context, the original lyrics go reference “Betty Davis, Solange Knowles; Badu, Lizzo, Kelly Rowl.” But at that particular concert, Beyoncé sang those lyrics as “Betty Davis, Solange Knowles, Badu, Badu, Badu, Badu.”
Here’s the catch: even though some fans are jumping to the conclusion that Beyoncé is already choosing to distance herself from Lizzo amid these allegations, there could be an entirely other reason why Bey repeated Erykah Badu’s name three times. As reported by People, Badu threw some slight shade at Queen Bey in an Instagram Story shared on Sunday, July 30.
In that Instagram story, Badu shared a photo of Beyoncé wearing a particular hat on The Renaissance Tour, and then a picture of a hat worn by Badu in the past. “Hmmm. I guess I’m everybody’s stylist,” Badu wrote in the post. Therefore, it’s possible that Beyoncé was reacting to this shade from Badu by repeating her name thrice in the remix… and not (at least not yet) reacting to the breaking news regarding Lizzo.
Lizzo broke her silence over the allegations, denying them "outrageous" on Instagram.
Read her full statement below:
"These 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.
"These sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publically 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.
"I 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."