Audio Post – Lizzo

I have been an avid consumer of celebrity news and “drama” over the years. I think it is fascinating how deeply celebrities permeate our culture and how many people aim to emulate them. However, there is a very fine line between being a fan of a celebrity and worshiping them. It can quickly become dangerous and put fans (and the very stars they idolize) at risk for toxic, dangerous behavior.

This is not a new phenomenon, serving as a way to escape reality by projecting our ideals onto people who do not know. I, myself, am deeply devoted to musicians like One Direction and Taylor Swift, and have made being a member of their “fandoms” a core piece of my identity for years. However, I actively try to avoid getting caught up in the trap of turning these people into god-like figures. It is impossible to truly know what celebrities are like behind the scenes, and while I believe figures like Taylor Swift to be role models, it would be dangerous for me to believe they can do no wrong. I have been disappointed by celebrities I have loved in the past, and though I am aware of the fact that I don’t personally know them, it can still be heartbreaking to learn that they weren’t who I thought they were.

In my audio post, I discuss Lizzo, an American pop singer who is facing a lawsuit from three of her former dancers alleging that she created a harmful work environment on her most recent tour. This was an international tour supporting the release of her fourth studio album, “Special,” ending last month after nearly a year.

While on this tour, the dancers behind this lawsuit, Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez, were allegedly subjugated to sexual harassment, religious harassment, and body shaming, among other things. The suit was filed on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, filing a total of nine charges against Lizzo, her production company Big Grrl Big Touring Inc., and the captain of her dance team, Shirlene Quigley.

According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys at West Coast Employment Lawyers (WCEL), the dancers were subjected to “weight-shaming, forced to endure sexually denigrating behaviors and preaching about sexuality and Christianity, and were forced to participate in disturbing sex shows.”

This case came as quite a shock to me and others. I am not a Lizzo fan, but I am aware of the success she has had over the years and the way she has publicly portrayed herself. To many, Lizzo has been a beacon of light in the body positivity movement and the fight for female empowerment within the entertainment industry. However, it is clear that she was not practicing the values she claimed to.

As of this blog post, Lizzo and her team have not released any public statements about the situation, but it will be interesting to see how this unfolds in the coming months.

Audio Transcript:

Hi, all!

This is going to be my first audio-based blog post. I’ve always been interested in audio-based content, particularly podcasts. I think podcasts are a great way to learn more about a topic in a more passive way. They don’t always require as much attention as other forms of content and can be put on in the background while cooking or cleaning; I like to listen to podcasts while I drive. I’m particularly drawn to podcasts about celebrity news and true crime, which are two topics I’m kind of blending today.

Today I’m talking about Lizzo. Lizzo is an American singer who has had a lot of success in the past few years. I’ve never been a really big fan of hers, but I know a few of her songs and I admit that she is talented However, on Tuesday, August 1, a lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles County Court District by three of her former tour dancers. This lawsuit alleges that Lizzo and her production company sexually harassed crew members and created a hostile work environment. It is also alleged that there were incidents of religious harassment, racial harassment, and disability discrimination.

Lizzo’s former dance captain Shirlene Quigley is also being sued. She is a very devout Christian and is being accused of harassing other dancers for their religions and for not sharing the same beliefs as her. There is also an account from one of the plaintiffs that Lizzo and Shirlene Quigley shamed her for her weight gain before firing her. 

The court filing claims that, following a performance in Amsterdam, Lizzo took her crew to a sexually themed show at a club in the city’s Red Light District, where she pressured her dancers into touching and interacting with the show’s performers in ways that made them uncomfortable. A lot of them felt forced into doing this out of fear that they would be ostracized by Lizzo and other crew members

This is quite a shock to me and other members of the general public. We can never truly know who celebrities are behind the scenes, and any image we have of them is just part of their brand; even the most “relatable” celebrities have a carefully crafted image. However, Lizzo has been a public supporter of the body positivity movement and an advocate for female empowerment. 

It will be interesting to see what happens from here. As of this recording, there have been no public statements made by Lizzo or anyone on her team. This lawsuit was only filed yesterday, so a lot will probably come out in the next few weeks and months, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, there are many cases like this in Hollywood, and there will be more in the future. 

Thank you for listening, I wish this audio post was about a more lighthearted topic, but I felt this was important to talk about. And as I said, it will be interesting to see what happens from here. But anyway, thank you for listening. Until next time!

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