Lizzo broke her silence Thursday morning saying she’s “hurt” as she dismissed the sexual harassment and hostile work environment allegations made by three former dancers in a lawsuit this week as “unbelievable” and “outrageous."
“These last few days have been gut wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing," the 35-year-old singer shared on Instagram after NBC News was first to report on the lawsuit. "My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized," she said.
"Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed," said Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson.
She dismissed the allegations made in the lawsuit, calling the accounts "sensationalized stories" and said the former employees "have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional."
Attorney Ron Zambrano, who is representing the former dancers who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement to NBC News Thursday: “Her denial of this reprehensible behavior only adds to our clients’ emotional distress.”
“Lizzo has failed her own brand and has let down her fans,” Zambrano said. “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.”
Lizzo stated that in creating her music and performances, "sometimes I have to make hard decisions but it’s never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable or like they aren’t valued as an important part of the team."
“I am not here to be looked at as a victim, but I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be the last few days,” she said.
Lizzo maintained that she is very open about expressing her sexuality, “but I cannot accept or allow people to use that openness to make me out to be something I am not.”
The suit accused the star — known for embracing body positivity — of calling attention to one dancer — Arianna Davis — over her weight gain and later berating, then firing her after she recorded a meeting because of a health condition.
Seemingly referring to those allegations, Lizzo said: “There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world. 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," she said, concluding her statement. "I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time."
Zambrano, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said her statement showed a lack of "empathy."
He added, while Lizzo said it wasn't her intention to make anyone uncomfortable — "that is exactly what she did to the point of demoralizing her dancers and flagrantly violating the law.”
Marty Singer, an attorney for Lizzo called the lawsuit “specious,” a “sham” and “without merit.”
He pointed out a video interview for Season 2 of “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” in April 2023 in which one of the plaintiffs, Arianna Davis, says: “It’s been so amazing and such a beautiful journey” and “I look up to her so much; I just want to follow in her footsteps; and “I just want to share that with the Queen Lizzo herself.”
Singer said that video was made “after virtually all of her alleged claims referred to in her lawsuit had already occurred.”
“These do not sound like the words of someone who was harassed or discriminated against by someone they then described as ‘THE QUEEN,’” Singer said.
He added that Davis auditioned to continue working with Lizzo as a singer on an upcoming tour as part of a girl group after being on tour with the artist.
“We are confident that Lizzo will be completely vindicated in this matter,” Singer said on the suit.
But Davis said in a statement Thursday that video was filmed before the “bulk of our allegations occurred.”
“Right up until the last minute, I didn’t realize how bad it was and how much I was being taken advantage of. I just genuinely wanted to save my job. This video further explains how much I was trying to please Lizzo," she said, calling working with the star a "toxic work environment."