August 9, 2023


Lizzo has been sued by three former dancers who accuse the Grammy winner of sexual harassment and allege the singer and her production company created a hostile work environment. The civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court claims Lizzo pressured the dancers to engage with nude performers at a club in Amsterdam and shamed one of them for her weight gain before firing her.” AP News

Lizzo said [last] Thursday that she’s ‘not the villain’ that three of her former backup dancers falsely accuse her of being in a sexual harassment lawsuit… She said the ‘sensationalized stories’ were coming from former employees ‘who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.’” AP News

Both sides condemn the alleged behavior and warn about the risk of idolizing celebrities:

“The plaintiffs claim they were made to feel their employment was precarious, and that they had to comply with requests that made them uncomfortable in order to continue working. Some of those requests were of a sexual nature, including, among other things, pressure from Lizzo to attend a performance with nude dancers in Amsterdam, to eat bananas placed in nude dancers’ genitals, and pressure on one of the plaintiffs to touch a dancer’s breasts…

“The lawsuit underscores the poor working conditions in the music industry, and the lack of accountability that exists for such abuses. Long hours, difficult physical labor, and short-term contracts are common, while institutional oversight of individual artists isn’t always present. Other artists including Cher and Britney Spears have been sued by their employees in the past for alleged discrimination and battery, respectively, for example.”
Li Zhou, Vox

Overweight celebrities shaming others for being overweight is hardly novel. Earlier this year, staffers for former late-night host James Corden told The Daily Mail that Corden asked them to move overweight audience members to the back rows during his tapings. Corden didn’t want the fat members of the crowd to make it on television during the crowd shots. He preferred only one fat person to appear on the broadcast: Himself. Though, unlike Lizzo, Corden didn’t force dancers to eat bananas from sex workers’ vaginas.”
Bobby Burack, OutKick

“Lizzo, of course, has built an ever-growing empire largely on the idea that we should all be comfortable in who we are, that our bodies aren’t projects in constant need of improvement and that, in order to create the society we desire, we have to leave the door open for those coming behind us…

“That makes these allegations, if true, all the more alarming — if she knows better and has been on the same journey so many others of us have been on to unlearn such toxic ideas, then that should have led to improved behavior. As the adage goes, when you know better, you do better. Instead, these dancers claim that Lizzo chose to humiliate them time and again, rather than treat them with the kindness she so often sings about…

Is it possible to treat people well and still be on top of the world? That’s one question that the lawsuit prompts us to ask and one that I’ve been asking myself. While Lizzo is entitled to have flaws, as we all do, it’s deeply disappointing to learn that she may not be who she has very publicly claimed to be, and that deception may have harmed the people she and her company employed.”
Evette Dionne, MSNBC

“It's crucial to note that Lizzo’s public decline is not an isolated event but a symptom of the same cult of celebrity that fueled her rise. Our fascination with celebrities, amplified in the age of social media, often sets unrealistic expectations for these public figures we idolize. Channeling society's collective ambitions, in this case, opposing unrealistic body weight standards, into a single singer is a precarious move… We crave perfection and authenticity from them, conveniently forgetting that these individuals are just as fallible as the rest of us…

“Ellen DeGeneres, the erstwhile queen of daytime television whose public relations team had cultivated her image as the nicest person in show business, was revealed to be a sham as a bevy of accusations of harboring a toxic workplace sank her ratings. Similar allegations have always peppered the press, from illustrious television stars such as Bill Cosby (rape) to stand-up comics such as Louis C.K. (lecherous indecency)...

“It's like gazing into a contemporary enactment of Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, where the public image remains unblemished, but behind the scenes, a different picture emerges. The facade begins to crumble when those close to them, those without the spotlight or a public platform, start sharing their experiences. In the end, a person's true character isn't measured by their public image but by how they treat those in their lives who don't share their fame or power.”
Harry Khachatrian, Washington Examiner

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