The pop star singer Lizzo once jokingly described herself as a ‘Disney Princess’ after playing the role of The Duchess of Plazir-15 in an episode of The Mandalorian on Disney Plus. Although she has yet to officially portray a live action princess or voice an animated character, it seems unlikely Disney will be calling her any time soon.
The Lizzo Lawsuit
In a recently filed lawsuit, she is accused of sexual harassment as well as religious and racial harassment by a trio of former dancers. They are also suing for discrimination, assault, and false imprisonment.
JUST IN: Lizzo sued over claims she created a hostile work environment where former dancers say they were weight-shamed and sexually harassed. https://t.co/OobOwtdExP
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 1, 2023
The Lizzo lawsuit is being brought by Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez in Los Angeles. We won’t go into the lurid details described in the allegations, but the dancers do claim that they were pressured and forced to perform actions while working and touring with Lizzo (between 2021 and 2023).
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Religious and Racial Discrimination
The lawsuit also alleges that the dance team’s captain, Shirlene Quigley, pushed her religious beliefs on the performers, including openly judging and posting on social media about certain performer’s private life. In addition, there are also accusations of racial discrimination towards Black members of the dance troop by Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc.’s management team.
Another accusation made by Ms. Davis is that the Grammy winner had shamed her after the backup dancer had put on some weight. She alleges that Lizzo, along with the dance choreographer, questioned her over recent weight changes and “gave Ms Davis the impression that she needed to explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job.”
Furthermore, the three former dancers allege they were not paid their full salary while they worked during Lizzo’s European Tour – only receiving half as much as the other dancers.
The plaintiffs in the case are all former tour performers, with two having been fired and the third resigning over the treatment of other dancers. It will be interesting to see how this story of a hostile work environment develops, but it’s probably fair to say Melissa Viviane Jefferson (aka Lizzo) will not be reprising her role on The Mandalorian any time soon.