Lizzo’s lawyers file motion to dismiss harassment lawsuit against her

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Lizzo’s lawyers have filed a motion to prevent a harassment lawsuit against her from coming to court.

In August and September, the Grammy Award-winning pop singer faced several allegations of harassment, bullying and discrimination from former employees.

One lawsuit filed by fashion designer Asha Daniels, who toured with the popstar and created stage outfits, accused Lizzo and other staff members of maintaining an “unsafe, sexually charged workplace culture”.

She told NBC News: “I was witnessing myself, the dancers and the background vocalists and my local team in every city be harassed and bullied regularly.”

The most serious allegations were made against other members of staff, including a wardrobe manager who Daniels alleged made a “stereotypical sassy Black woman imitation”, forced dancers to change clothes out in the open and used threatening and derogatory language.

Daniels also claimed she was forced to work seven days per week for 20 hours per day.

Another manager was accused of texting sexually explicit material to a group chat, and Daniels alleged members of the team openly discussed “hiring sex workers for lewd acts, attending sex shows and buying hard drugs”. Daniels’ lawyer argued Lizzo was implicated, saying: “Lizzo is the boss, so the buck stops with her.”

A spokesman for Lizzo called the lawsuit “a bogus, absurd publicity stunt” and alleged Daniels had “never actually met or even spoke with Lizzo”.

Lizzo accepting the Record Of The Year award for ‘About Damn Time’ at the Grammy Awards earlier this year (Getty Images)
Lizzo accepting the Record Of The Year award for ‘About Damn Time’ at the Grammy Awards earlier this year (Getty Images)

Lizzo’s lawyers are now trying to have the lawsuit dismissed, arguing that it is “defective” because the allegations have no connection to California, where it was filed. According to the filing, Daniels lives in New York and worked with Lizzo on tour in Europe.

They also argue again that the lawsuit is without merit, describing Daniels as a “disgruntled” ex-employee who “refused to comply with instructions… and, eventually, just played hooky and refused to show up for work”. Daniels previously said she was dismissed the same day she had taken a break from work due to developing an allergic reaction. She also claimed that she was told she was dismissed because she had previously voiced complaints about alleged harassment.

A lawyer for Daniels said Lizzo’s team was trying “to shift blame to the victims … Lizzo and her lawyers can continue trying to rationalise her illegal and wretched conduct but we remain committed to seeking justice for our clients, and look forward to our day in court where Lizzo can explain her behaviour in a public forum.” No decision has yet been made about whether Daniels’ lawsuit can go ahead.

Three former dancers of Lizzo’s are also suing the star in a separate lawsuit over claims of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. This lawsuit, which was filed in August, alleges that Lizzo pressured one of the dancers to touch a nude performer at a nightclub and have others engage in sexually explicit performance. There are also allegations

The allegations fly in the face of Lizzo’s public persona. As a performer, she is known for promoting body positivity, women’s rights, LGBT+ rights, and anti-bullying. Throughout her career, she has crafted a globally successful brand of body positivity and self-love, backed up by a discography of empowerment anthems.

Lizzo accepting the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award at the Black Music Action Coalition Gala in September (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Lizzo accepting the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award at the Black Music Action Coalition Gala in September (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

When the first lawsuit was filed in August, the Grammy-winning artist eventually addressed the allegations, writing on Instagram: “My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticised. Usually, I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.

Lizzo said that while she is “not here to be looked at as a victim”, she knows she is “not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days”.

“I’m hurt but I will not let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time,” she concluded.