"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."
Lizzo has taken to social media and responded to allegations of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. Lizzo, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc, and dance captain Shirlene Quigley have been sued.
The allegations from the singer’s former backup dancers surfaced this week, with Lizzo accused of body shaming and firing an employee and, amongst other claims, in an Amsterdam nightclub, was accused of “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 lawsuit, obtained by NBC News, said, “Plaintiffs were aghast with how little regard Lizzo showed for the bodily autonomy of her employees and those around her, especially in the presence of many people whom she employed.”
Calling the claims “false allegations” that have been “sensationalized” [sic], the About Damn Time singer said she was “hurt” by the public claims, Pajiba reports.
“These last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing,” Lizzo wrote in a Notes app address on social media last night (3 August). “My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized [sic].”
She continued, “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 sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior [sic] on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.”
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Lizzo highlighted her passion as an artist and added, “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.”
“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 added. “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.”
Lizzo ended the statement by saying she was “hurt” by the allegations, but wouldn’t let her “good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this” before thanking her supporters. You can read her entire statement below.
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual harassment, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au for a confidential chat, counselling and support service.