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HomeCelebrityLizzo asks judge to dismiss sexual harassment suit filed by backup dancers

Lizzo asks judge to dismiss sexual harassment suit filed by backup dancers

Photo Contributor
Adam McCullough

In August, Lizzo was sued by Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez, as well as by her touring company and Shirlene Quigley, the captain of Lizzo’s dance squad. The dancers allege in their complaint that Lizzo coerced them into attending clubs while they were traveling.

Lizzo requests the dismissal of the lawsuit under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. This legal tactic is frequently employed by media companies and artists to swiftly end a civil lawsuit and compel the plaintiff to reimburse the defendant’s legal costs if the complaint is without merit and intended to restrict the defendant’s freedom of speech and public engagement.

“Being on tour is not a 9-to-5 job,” Melissa Lerner, Lizzo’s lawyer, stated. “While these outings were not staff meetings, they were intended to build camaraderie and inspire cohesion.”

Lizzo’s attorney contended on Wednesday that the majority of the behind-the-scenes activities of the singer’s tour, including a large portion of her late-night partying, were considered creative processes and were therefore protected by the anti-SLAPP statute.

Lizzo allegedly took the cast to a nude burlesque show in Amsterdam’s red-light district one evening while they were traveling to film a reality show. There, they allegedly “invited” them to “take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.” Davis, who was a virgin and whose virginity was a frequent topic of conversation during the tour, said she felt coerced into touching one of the people performing.

Lizzo and her touring business have requested that the case be dismissed on the grounds that the claims are protected by free expression, which they used to create their international stadium tour and reality TV show “Watch Out For The Big Grrrls,” according to their attorneys.

Attorney Melissa Lerner of Lavely & Singer PC argued on behalf of Lizzo on Wednesday that the public interest is in her artistic creation, an expressive process that encompasses her performances, the message in her music, the preparation for live performances, and the preparation for reality TV programs. According to her, team-building exercises like going out to bars and having talks while traveling support and facilitate the development of expressive work. There may be limits, but they aren’t part of this complaint,” her attorney Lerner said.

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The dancers accused Quigley of trying to convert the cast members to Christianity in addition to their allegations of sexual harassment; Quigley refuted these charges in court documents. According to the allegation, dancers were reprimanded by touring company staff without any explanation. The dancers said that only the dancing cast, which consists of full-figured women of color, had ever been addressed in this way, giving plaintiffs the idea that the remarks were motivated by fat-phobic and racial prejudice.

Lizzo’s attorneys stated in their move to dismiss that the claim was brought about because the dancers “have an axe to grind.” The motion was backed by affirmative statements from twenty members of the touring group, including the singer. ”

Members stated in their declarations that dancers were not required to participate in the nude dance performance or the nude photo shoot. However, dancers continued to accused Quigley of trying to convert the cast members to Christianity in addition to their allegations of sexual harassment; Quigley refuted these charges in court documents. According to the allegation, dancers were reprimanded by touring company staff without any explanation. The dancers said that only the dancing cast, which consists of full-figured women of color, had ever been addressed in this way, giving plaintiffs the idea that the remarks were motivated by fat-phobic and racial prejudice.

Lizzo’s attorneys stated in their move to dismiss that the claim was brought about because the dancers “have an axe to grind.” The motion was backed by affirmative statements from twenty members of the touring group, including the singer. ”

Members stated in their declarations that dancers were not required to participate in the nude dance performance or the nude photo shoot. However, dancers continue to do so under pressure and not being considered for additional shows which would affect their income.

“In what way is Lizzo compelling Arianna Davis to touch someone’s breast in the name of (free speech)?” The dancers’ attorney was questioned at the hearing over Lizzo’s request to have the bombshell case dismissed. Lizzo’s attorney stated that although there might be restrictions, the singer-songwriter’s right to free speech ought to protect all of the things listed in the lawsuit. She contended, “This is a group of people living, working, and traveling together for months on end.” “The purpose of these trips is to see live performances.” In actuality, plaintiffs are working on the project.

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