Light Wave


Former Backup Dancers Clap Back after Lizzo Calls Their Allegations ‘False’

By Belal Awad · August 5, 2023

In brief…

  • Grammy-winning artist Lizzo faces serious allegations from three former backing dancers, including sexual harassment and fat-shaming.
  • The three dancers, who filed a lawsuit against Lizzo, pushed back on the singer's statement denying amy wrongdoing.
  • "I feel unheard" said one of the dancers. "We're just trying to hold her accountable" said another.
  • The dancers claim they were fired after experiencing inappropriate and humiliating incidents and believe the criticism they faced was racially motivated.
The three dancers who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Lizzo pushed back on the singer's denial of wrongdoing.  Andy Witchger/Wikimedia

Grammy-winning artist Lizzo, known for her messages of self-love and acceptance, faces serious allegations from three of her former backup dancers.

The dancers, Crystal Williams, Ariana Davis, and Noel Rodriguez, have filed a lawsuit accusing the singer of sexual harassment, fat-shaming, and creating a hostile working environment. They toured with Lizzo between 2021 and 2023, claiming their April 2023 parting followed a series of inappropriate and humiliating incidents. Court papers filed in Los Angeles describe an occasion where Lizzo allegedly pressured a dancer to touch the breast of a nude performer in Amsterdam. Davis alleges she was asked to explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details to retain her job. The lawsuit also accuses Lizzo’s production company of singling out the dancers, all women of color, for harsh criticism, which the plaintiffs view as racially motivated.

Lizzo responded with a statement denying any wrongdoing, calling the allegations “false” and expressing “disappointment.”

The dancers hit quickly hit back. “It feels like our experiences were disregarded completely,” dancer Williams told NBC New York. Her co-plaintiff Davis added, “I did look up to her… But knowing her now, it was performative.”

In her statement Lizzo insisted “There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world.”

Noel Rodriguez countered, “Where was that same sentiment when I stated to her and wanted to talk things out and say, ‘I’m resigning because I feel unsafe, I feel unheard, I’m disrespected?’”

The timing of the lawsuit has raised questions among Lizzo fans, who suggest the allegations are retaliatory following the dancers’ dismissal.

Despite the controversy, the dancers say they do not wish to undermine the body-positive work Lizzo has done. “We’re not trying to villainize her. We’re just trying to hold her accountable,” said Davis.