Former dancers for the Grammy Award-winning singer Lizzo are speaking out after filing a lawsuit against the pop star over an alleged hostile workplace environment that included harassment, discrimination and weight-shaming.
“You can see a public figure and all you know about them is what they present to you when the cameras are on and the cameras are rolling,” Crystal Williams, one of Lizzo’s former dancers, told GMA3’s Kelley Carter.
Arianna Davis, the dancer accusing Lizzo of weight-shaming, added: “I know it’s alarming to hear that Lizzo, a plus-size woman who preaches body positivity, would be fat-phobic, essentially. But I want to challenge people to understand that hurt people hurt people.”
The complaint was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Lizzo, whose legal name is Melissa Jefferson, as well as her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., and the captain of her dance team, Shirlene Quigley.
In an Instagram statement, Lizzo denied the allegations, writing, “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.”
On GMA3, the dancers said Lizzo’s statement aims to invalidate their experience.
“For the many women that have — because it’s mainly women — that have come forward and said they felt the same … it completely kind of invalidates all of our experience and our trauma and our pain,” plaintiff Noelle Rodriguez said.
Williams said she finds it sad that the group wasn’t met with “acknowledgment of our feelings when her brand is to preach about women empowerment.”
In a statement to ABC News, Marty Singer, Lizzo’s attorney, called the lawsuit “specious and without merit.”
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