Melissa Viviane Jefferson famously known as Lizzo is a popular American rapper and singer-songwriter who has built her public image by aggressively promoting conversations around body positivity and women’s rights. Her songs and public statements have resonated with many, making her a symbol of empowerment and self-acceptance. However, the recent accusations from three of her tour dancers have challenged this image and raised serious concerns about her behaviour behind the scenes. As a result of this controversy, Lizzo has faced severe damage to her public image, especially her social media where she has lost considerable followers.

Lizzo lost followers over sexual harassment allegations

The disturbing claims

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, accuses Lizzo of subjecting her three dancers, namely Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez, to a toxic work environment characterised by sexual, racial, and religious harassment. The dancers claim that these incidents occurred between 2021 and 2023, during their time working with Lizzo on her tours.

Among the allegations, one of the most troubling claims is that Lizzo criticised a dancer’s weight gain and subsequently fired her. This accusation stands in stark contrast to Lizzo’s public stance as an advocate for body positivity, creating a significant disconnect between her words and actions.

The lawsuit also alleges that during a trip to Amsterdam, Lizzo pressured one of her dancers to touch a nude performer at a strip club. This incident raises serious concerns about consent and respect for personal boundaries, further fueling the controversy surrounding the singer.

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Moreover, the dancers claim that Lizzo falsely accused several of them of drinking while working and subjected them to an exhausting 12-hour audition. Such actions, if proven true, would highlight a lack of empathy and respect for her performers’ well-being and professional boundaries.

The Role of Shirlene Quigley

Additionally, the lawsuit implicates Shirlene Quigley, Lizzo’s dance captain, in creating a hostile work environment. Shirlene allegedly denigrated those who engaged in premarital sex and imposed her Christian beliefs on other dancers. Furthermore, she is accused of engaging in inappropriate behaviour, such as simulating oral sex and discussing intimate details about a performer’s personal life.

While it is unclear whether Lizzo was aware of the specific allegations against Shirlene, the dancers’ lawyer suggests that they believe she knew about the issues. This raises questions about Lizzo’s role in fostering a healthy and respectful work environment for her team.

Lizzo’s half-hearted response

In response to the lawsuit, Lizzo denied the allegations and asserted that she is not the villain portrayed by the media. Her statement indicates that she intends to defend herself against the claims and maintain her innocence.

The impact on her social media

As news of the lawsuit broke, Lizzo’s social media following took a hit, with a significant number of followers unfollowing her accounts. This response reflects the divided opinions among her fans, with some expressing disappointment and others standing by her until the truth is revealed.

Since the allegation was made on the 1st of August, Lizzo has lost a considerable number of followers. She has lost close to 220K followers since the said date and still has 13.3 million people following her on Instagram. She released a statement on her official Instagram account but really said nothing on it. 

The situation has put Lizzo in a challenging position, as her credibility as an icon and an advocate for body positivity and women’s rights has come into question. Her next moves will be crucial in addressing the allegations and attempting to rebuild trust with her audience. The ongoing controversy serves as a reminder that public figures are not immune to scrutiny and that actions behind the scenes can have far-reaching consequences. It remains to be seen how Lizzo will handle the situation and whether she will take accountability for any wrongdoing that may be uncovered during the legal proceedings.