Lizzo's Harassment Allegations Show How 'Hurt People Hurt People' — And There's No Excuse

It makes sense that she would have insecurities to project, but it doesn't excuse the alleged behavior.

lizzo and her dancers Patrick Daxenbichler via Canva; Ben Houdijk / Shutterstock

According to a lawsuit filed by three of Lizzo’s former dancers on Tuesday, August 1, 2023, the singer is being accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

The lawsuit has not only been lodged against Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, but her production company “Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc.” and their dance team captain Shirlene Quigley.

The former dancers, seen on Lizzo’s reality TV show “Watch Out For The Big Grrrls,” who have filed the suit are Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez. While the allegations leveled against the “Truth Hurts” singer are serious, they’re not at all surprising.


Even though Lizzo’s harassment allegations prove that ‘hurt people hurt people,’ there's still no excuse for her purported behavior.

A major reason the public is so shocked about this lawsuit is that Lizzo is often seen as a pillar — a shining example of standing up for herself against fat-shamers and telling people that they should love themselves and embrace who they are. She's considered an icon for the body positivity movement.

In May 2023, Lizzo shared a TikTok in which she talked about her body positivity journey and her desire to maintain a healthy state of mind. “I think a lot of people see a fat person that way and immediately just assume everything they are doing is trying to be thin. I’m not trying to be thin. I don’t ever want to be thin. The goal is always here,” she said, pointing to her head.




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“Once I started working out for mental health, to have balanced mental health for endorphins,” she continued, “so that I don’t look at myself in the mirror and feel ashamed of myself and feel disgusted with myself, exercise has helped me shift my mind — not my body.”

Not only was she pointing toward the future of a body-positive mindset, but general mental health and well-being. Working out isn’t just about getting thin or in shape, it’s about what it does for your mental health, which is why it’s equally as shocking to hear about the allegations against her.


As an incredibly successful artist, Lizzo is constantly in the spotlight. With that, she becomes a target for people who feel the need to fat-shame her or judge her based on her appearance.

“The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly, while privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are not only illegal but absolutely demoralizing,” Ron Zambrano said in a statement. Zambrano is the lawyer representing the dancers.

Society views women as objects of beauty, and when they don’t fit the idealistic societal mold, they face scrutiny. This constant scrutiny is why it’s not shocking that she may be projecting her own insecurities onto her employees. As the old saying goes, “Hurt people hurt people.”

According to MyTherapist, projection psychology is when "someone attributes their own negative (or positive) feelings, flaws, and other quirks onto someone else or another group, and usually onto someone with whom they are having a disagreement." They claim that "someone who projects will shift blame to ignore their problems or weaknesses."

In this case, Lizzo may be projecting to ignore her own insecurities or to try and put herself above others for a moment of self-gratification. However, she may just be a product of her environment, seeing as she is constantly scrutinized by the public.


The entertainment industry is full of this toxic behavior as well — not just the public. Women from all ranges of the entertainment industry, whether it be acting or singing, are told that they need to be skinny and beautiful. When they aren't, they're ridiculed, and even when they are, women are still constantly being pitted against each other.

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Lizzo is accused of ‘fat-shaming’ her dancers, among other hostile work environment allegations.

If the allegations in the lawsuit, obtained by NBC News, are true, that would mean that Lizzo told Davis, one of the dancers, that she was “less committed” to the role in order to make a “thinly veiled” comment about her weight. While it was not expressly stated that Lizzo had allegedly fat-shamed her, the subtle nuance is enough to make people feel betrayed.

Among the “hostile work environment” accusations against Lizzo, there was allegedly an instance in which Lizzo accused the dance group of drinking before performances. This resulted in an “excruciating” 12-hour rehearsal after Lizzo had allegedly told them they would need to audition once more in order to keep their jobs.




Since their job safety seemed to be on the line, many of the dancers felt the need to attend “non-mandatory” afterparties. At one of these afterparties at the Amsterdam strip club, Bananenbar, Lizzo allegedly “began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas,” the suit said. 

“Lizzo then turned her attention to Ms. Davis and began pressuring Ms. Davis to touch the breasts of one of the nude women,” it continued. This disregard for the autonomy of her dancers and the way she allegedly treated them is inexcusable.


Her production company and Quigley stand accused of religious and racial harassment, as well as interference with prospective economic advantage. Representatives for Lizzo have not responded to requests for comment at this time.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.