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Lizzo breaks silence after sexual harassment allegations: 'I am not the villain'

The Good As Hell singer had a lawsuit filed against her by three backup dancers

Lizzo attends the 65th GRAMMY Awards
Jenni McKnight
US Lifestyle Editor
3 August 2023
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Lizzo has broken her silence after she was accused of sexual harassment and body shaming by three backup dancers in a new lawsuit. 

The Good As Hell hitmaker issued a statement on Instagram on Thursday in which she said she was "not the villain" she is being made out to be and has found the last few days "gut-wrenchingly difficult".

She penned: "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 criticized. 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 wears leather catsuit with neon green detailing to perform at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney © Getty
Lizzo's intentions are "never to make anyone feel uncomfortable'

"These sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.

"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. 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." 

Lizzo accepts Record Of The Year for "About Damn Time" onstage during the 65th GRAMMY Awards at Arena on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California© Getty Images
Lizzo is being accused of sexual harassment and body shaming

She continued: "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. 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. 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."

lizzo met gala 2023© Getty Images
Lizzo knows what it feels like to 'be body-shamed'

Three of Lizzo's former dancers filed a lawsuit on August 1 in which they accused Lizzo – real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson – of sexual, religious, and racial harassment, discrimination, assault, and false imprisonment.

The singer is also accused of fostering a hostile work environment, body-shaming, and pressuring a dancer to touch a performer's breasts at an Amsterdam strip club.

lizzo o stage lime green bodysuit© Jim Dyson
Lizzo has denied all allegations made against her

Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez are the former dancers bringing the case against the singer, her dance captain and her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring (BGBT).

In response to Lizzo's statement, Los Angeles attorney Ron Zambrano, who is representing the plaintiffs and is a partner and Employment Litigation Chair at West Coast Employment Lawyers, said: "Lizzo has failed her own brand and has let down her fans. Her denial of this reprehensible behavior only adds to our clients' emotional distress. 

lizzo on stage gold outfit© Steven Ferdman
Lizzo's statement was met with anger by the plaintiffs

"The dismissive comments and utter lack of empathy are quite telling about her character and only serve to minimize the trauma she has caused the plaintiffs and other employees who have now come forward sharing their own negative experiences."

He concluded: "While Lizzo notes it was never her intention 'to make anyone feel uncomfortable,' that is exactly what she did to the point of demoralizing her dancers and flagrantly violating the law."

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