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Former Lizzo dancer from Indianapolis, two others speak out about harassment lawsuit

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Three former Lizzo dancers are suing the singer alleging harassment from her, her touring company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., and Shirlene Quigley, the captain of her dance team.

The suit lists sexual, religious and racial harassment, disability discrimination, interference with prospective economic advantage, assault and false imprisonment.

There are nine total complaints in this lawsuit against the three defendants. Arianna Davis, the dancer in the suit originally from Indianapolis, is listed as a plaintiff in each instance.

Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez are the other plaintiffs alongside Davis in the lawsuit.

“It had been an unspoken thing in the camp that those who partied with Lizzo or those who were down for anything with Lizzo were more favored as cast members, and ended up getting special treatment,” Davis said.

All of the women allege sexual harassment against each defendant. Davis and Rodriguez said they were at a sexually explicit bar in Amsterdam, Bananenbar Amsterdam, with the singer when Davis was forced to touch a performer.

“I didn’t want to at all, and I said no in many different ways, multiple times,” Davis said. “Then she started a chant and said, ‘Ari Ari’ and everybody joined in. “I was embarrassed and I just wanted it to end, so I briefly touched the performer.”

Lizzo is directly accused of assault by Rodriguez. The dancer alleges Lizzo attempted to attack her when she resigned.

“I was very level-headed. I simply expressed how I was feeling, and then she comes and does all of that,” Rodriguez said. “It was shocking. I was like ‘Wow, me saying that I feel mistreated prompted you to get physical?’”

The dancers allege they were forced to re-audition in what they called an “excruciating” day.

“She essentially told us if she didn’t like what she saw on stage, we would be going home,” Williams said. “She basically said ‘my eyes are still on you.’”

The complaint of religious harassment is filed against Quigley and the touring company.

“She told one of our other dance members that she was going to make it her mission to minister to me throughout the tour,” said Rodriguez. “Why is it so targeted?”

“I think she was living vicariously through me because I was upholding, in her eyes, some sort of moral standard of virginity,” said Davis.

The suit alleges the women faced weight-shaming while they were on tour with Lizzo, something the dancers note is in direct opposition with the singers’ “body positive” branding. Davis said she felt she needed to explain her weight gain in order to keep her job.

Lizzo has responded to the allegations saying in part “Usually I chose not to respond to false allegations, but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed. The sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.”

The full statement can be read on Instagram, and the full lawsuit can be read here.