Lizzo has been sued again for overseeing a hostile work environment, this time by a stylist who claims she was subjected to a “culture of racism and bullying” while touring with the artist.
The lawsuit, which the firm representing the plaintiffs said was filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses Lizzo and Big Grrl Big Touring supervisors of sexual and racial harassment, disability discrimination, retaliation and of aggression. It draws on allegations from a trio of former touring dancers suing Lizzo for questioning them about their weight and pressuring them to engage in sexually explicit acts during sex shows.
Reinforcing allegations of sexual harassment of dancers, Asha Daniels – who designed pieces for touring dancers – describes a “dangerous and sexually charged work culture” in which alleged misconduct was encouraged by Lizzo and the head of the wardrobe Amanda Nomura, according to the lawsuit.
“There was a group chat of over 30 people from the BGBT team, including Lizzo tour management and plaintiff,” the complaint states. “In the group message, a behind-the-scenes official sent a photo graphically depicting male genitalia.”
When Lizzo’s tour arrived in Amsterdam, Daniels claims he saw Nomura and other supervisors “discussing hiring sex workers for lewd acts, attending sex shows and buying hard drugs.” . She claims to have been pressured to join. Lizzo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The complaint filed by Lizzo’s tour dancers also described an incident this year in Amsterdam in which staff were allegedly pressured to interact with naked performers. Lizzo allegedly pressured one of the plaintiffs to “touch the breasts of one of the naked women performing at the club” and “started singing a chant urging” her to do so despite her expression discomfort.
The complaint filed Thursday also claims Nomura subjected its employees to aggressive verbal harassment. Lizzo and her management team were allegedly aware of this conduct.
The complaint details: “On multiple occasions, Nomura made statements and/or took physical actions to threaten Complainant and the entire crew: (1) she threatened Complainant and others that she “would kill a bitch” and “stab a bitch” when she couldn’t find her medication. (2) she shoved a crew member in retaliation for revealing that she was threatening to quit. (3) Nomura snatched food from the hands of a local worker simply for attempting to take an assigned break.
Additionally, Daniels details a grueling work schedule in which she worked 20 hours a day. She says Nomura “often denied her breaks,” who “monitored and monitored” workers under her supervision. In one case, Nomura allegedly sprained Daniels’ ankle while carrying a clothes rack. When Daniels changed into orthopedic shoes due to her injury, Nomura allegedly forced her to change back into tennis shoes.
“Not only was the plaintiff denied medical treatment (on this and other occasions), but she was also forced to stand for most of the day and deprived of any rest – even after having rolled his ankle,” the complaint states.
Daniels raised concerns in February about “widespread racial and sexual harassment” in which “black dancers were being mocked, objectified and denied accommodations” to tour director Carlina Gugliotta, according to the complaint. Daniels’ complaints were reportedly ignored. She was fired before her contract was up, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint names Lizzo (real name Melissa Viviane Jefferson), her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., Nomura and Gugliotta. She denounces, among other things, sexual and racial harassment, discrimination based on disability, failure to accommodate, retaliation and assault.
Daniels says she suffers from anxiety, migraines, brain fog and ongoing fatigue as a result of the alleged misconduct.
In a statement, a representative for Lizzo called the lawsuit an “absurd publicity stunt” filed as the artist was scheduled to receive a humanitarian award from the Black Music Action Coalition on Thursday. The representative added: “We will give it the attention it deserves. None.”