Lizzo Loses Over 2 Lakh Instagram Followers Amid Sexual Harassment Controversy

Lizzo Loses Over 2 Lakh Instagram Followers Amid Sexual Harassment Controversy

Former backup dancers sued Lizzo for sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and for forcing them to participate in sex shows

IANSUpdated: Monday, August 07, 2023, 01:32 PM IST
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Singer Lizzo's official Instagram account has lost nearly 2,20,000 followers since three former backup dancers sued her over alleged sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, and for forcing them to participate in sex shows.

The fan dive began after news broke former dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez had filed the shocking lawsuit against the Grammy Award-winning star, Big Grrrl Big Touring, and dance captain Shirlene Quigley, reports nypost.com.

According to statistics site Social Blade, Lizzo has lost 2,19,570 Instagram followers since the August 1 suit was filed. The 'About Damn Time' singer lost nearly 1,70,000 Instagram followers before she even responded to the alarming claims on Thursday.

Despite the legal row, as of Sunday, Lizzo, whose legal name is Melissa Jefferson, still boasts 13.3 million followers on her official account @lizzobeeating.

In their suit, Davis, Williams and Rodriguez claimed that while on a concert trip to Amsterdam in February, Lizzo, 35, invited them for a night out - which ended in the city's red light district. The area is best known for its sex theaters, sex shops, clubs, and bars where nudity is on full display.

"(T)hings quickly got out of hand. Lizzo began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers' vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers' vaginas," the suit claimed.

According to court documents, not only did Lizzo allegedly coerce cast members to touch and engage with nude performers, but she also purportedly deceived dancers into attending a second show. The former dancers are suing for general and special damages, as well as punitive damages and attorneys' fees.

"The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly, while privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are . absolutely demoralising," the plaintiffs' lawyer, Ron Zambrano, said in a statement.

The 'Juice' songwriter addressed the bombshell claims in a lengthy statement posted on social media on Thursday, calling the accusations "false" and "unbelievable." "These last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing. My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticised," Lizzo began her statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed. These sensationalised stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional."

The pop star -- known for her body-positive messaging and unapologetic self-love -- said she is sometimes forced to "make hard decisions," but that it was not her intention to "make anyone feel uncomfortable."

"As an artist I have always been very passionate about what I do. I take my music and my performances seriously because at the end of the day I only want to put out the best art that represents me and my fans," she continued.

The statement continues, "With passion comes hard work and high standards. Sometimes I have to make hard decisions but it's never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable or like they aren't valued as an important part of the team."

The host and executive producer of 'Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls' noted that while she does not want to be victimised, she is also "not the villain" she's been painted out to be.

"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."

The hitmaker concluded her statement by urging fans not to let her work be "overshadowed" by the ongoing controversy. "I'm hurt but I will not let the good work I've done in the world be overshadowed by this," Lizzo wrote. "I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time."

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