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A fashion designer accused Lizzo of allowing a working environment of bullying and racial discrimination in a new lawsuit filed on Sept. 21 in Los Angeles. In the suit, Asha Daniels says Lizzo’s wardrobe manager Amanda Nomura referred to the “Truth Hurts” singer’s performers as “fat,” “useless,” and “dumb,” according to NBC News.
The 35-year-old also claimed that Nomura forced the dancers to change costumes in front of a predominately white and male stage crew as the men “lewdly” gawked at them. Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., Nomura, and tour manager Carlina Gugliotta, are also named in the lawsuit.
“I felt like I was living in a madhouse,” said Daniels. “I was listening to this Black woman on this huge stage have this message of self-love and caring for others and being empathetic and being strong and standing up for others, and I was witnessing myself, the dancers and the background vocalists and my local team in every city be harassed and bullied regularly.”
The lawsuit comes as Lizzo is set to be honored with the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award at the Black Music Action Coalition gala. Daniels also claimed that she was terminated after she complained about Nomura. Her attorney, Ron Zambrano, said, “Lizzo is the boss, so the buck stops with her.”
Daniels also claimed she heard “racist and fatphobic comments from Nomura” and witnessed her “mock both Lizzo and Lizzo’s background dancers on multiple occasions” by imitating them with stereotypical impressions of Black women.
“Nomura expressed that she would ‘kill a b—ch if it came down to it’ if anyone threatened her job,” the lawsuit continued. “Lizzo’s management was well aware of this pattern of behavior. Carlina Gugliotta… even requested Plaintiff to record Nomura without her knowledge, which Plaintiff did not do as it was both unethical and possibly unlawful.”
Daniels alleges that Nomura told her not to interact with the “Boys” singer or to dress in an attractive manner because it could make Lizzo jealous. Daniels said she abided by the rule and never spoke to the 35-year-old recording artist.
Lizzo’s lawyer Stefan Friedman responded to the lawsuit with a statement to “Entertainment Tonight” condemning the lawsuit and claiming the fashion designer never even met Lizzo.
“As Lizzo receives a Humanitarian Award tonight from the Black Music Action Coalition for the incredible charitable work she has done to lift up all people, an ambulance-chasing lawyer tries to sully this honor by recruiting someone to file a bogus, absurd publicity-stunt lawsuit who, wait for it, never actually met or even spoke with Lizzo,” said Friedman. “We will pay this as much attention as it deserves. None.”
The new allegations come more than a month after three former Lizzo dancers filed a lawsuit claiming the “Juice” singer forced them to participate in sexually denigrating behavior while on tour in Amsterdam last February.
Lizzo intends to sue the backup dancers who are taking her to court, @TMZ reports.
Lizzo's attorney says newly surfaced photos show Lizzo's accusers returned to the topless cabaret a month later and took photos with the performers. pic.twitter.com/Ie9ufMLwj4
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) August 23, 2023
Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez claimed that Lizzo pressured them to attend the sex shops in the red light district while encouraging them to engage with the naked performers. Davis claimed that after declining several times, she eventually gave in after Lizzo repeatedly asked her to eat “bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.”
Lizzo denied the dancers’ allegations on Instagram.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
She added that was hurt by the allegations and thanked those who reached out to support her following news of the lawsuit.