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Lizzo’s Dancers’ Lawyers Aren’t Backing Down With Harassment Suit, Explain Litigation Plans (Exclusive)

Three of Lizzo’s former backup dancers filed a workplace harassment lawsuit against the musician — and they are prepared to take their complaint to trial.

“We never know. Most cases do settle, but this is one I can easily see going to trial, because sometimes entertainers, whether it’s just denial or narcissism, they’re unwilling to accept that they maybe have done something wrong,” attorney Neama Rahmani exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, August 2. “So we’ll see [if] Lizzo comes out and denies all this and digs in [her] heels, then we’re gonna litigate this case and we’re gonna go to trial. Or does she come out and issue some sort of apology for how [she] and her management acted towards these women? Then, maybe there’s gonna be a resolution possible. The ball’s in Lizzo’s court now, and we’ll see what she and her lawyers do, and that’ll really determine whether this case gets litigated or tried.”

Us confirmed on Tuesday, August 1, that three of the 35-year-old Grammy winner’s backup dancers — Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez — filed a lawsuit against Lizzo after allegedly experiencing a hostile work environment, religious harassment, disability discrimination and sexual harassment. The trio are represented by Rahmani’s firm, West Coast Trial Lawyers.

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“For me, the most shocking allegations relate to the sexual harassment. You’re talking about sex shows and dildos and bananas and dildos and vaginas and bananas and vaginas. I mean, you have a male employee’s naked [and] he’s being whipped by a female performer who’s also naked,” Rahmani told Us of the complaint. “You have, one of our clients, Arianna, who’s forced to touch one of the new dancers. So this is just completely inappropriate in any workplace, but for Lizzo to essentially compel [her] employees to participate in this type of activity, it’s unlawful.”

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He added: “The reason sexual harassment laws exist is to protect employees because there’s such a disparity in power. So I can’t be a creepy boss and, for instance, ask one of my employees on a date because you know what? That employee may be compelled to say yes. You can’t say no to your boss because you’re worried about getting fired.”

Lizzo broke her silence on the lawsuit one day later, categorically denying the claims as  “false,” “unbelievable” and “too outrageous not to be addressed.”

“There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world,” Lizzo wrote via her Instagram on Thursday, August 3. “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.”

Rahmani told Us that how Lizzo addressed the allegations, which he expected to include a full denial, would impact his team’s legal strategy moving forward. After Lizzo released her statement on Thursday, Rahmani’s colleague attorney Ron Zambrano slammed her response.

“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,” Zambrano said in a Thursday statement. “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.”

Zambrano continued: “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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Rahmani further noted that the dancers are “devastated” that Lizzo’s on-camera persona is not the same behind the scenes. “They thought the Lizzo that you see on TV and the Lizzo that is on when the cameras are rolling would be the same Lizzo and would treat them fairly, but unfortunately it just wasn’t the case,” he noted on Wednesday.

While Davis, Williams and Rodriguez are upset about losing their “dream jobs” and allegedly experiencing traumatic events, Rahmani said they are “feeling better” now that other individuals have come forward with similar stories.

“There’s really strength in numbers and, you know, similar to the Me Too movement that really addressed rich and powerful men, those aren’t the only people that can harass or discriminate against young women, especially the young women of color who really were in a position where their boss was discriminating against their medical condition and forcing their religious beliefs on them,” Rahmani told Us. “There are racial issues and, of course, the sexual harassment. They are beyond devastated. They lost their job, something that was their dream job, and I’m really trying to pick the pieces up right now.”

Us Weekly has reached Lizzo for comment.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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