Judge Denies Lizzo's Motion to Have Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Dismissed

A Los Angeles judge ruled that the case filed by the singer's former dancers will proceed to trial.

Jerritt Clark / Getty Images for Femme It Forward/Give Her FlowHERS

A judge denied Lizzo's attempt to have her sexual harassment lawsuit dismissed.

Billboard reports a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled on Friday that the case will proceed to trial. Three of Lizzo's former dancers filed the lawsuit last year, accusing the "Good as Hell" singer of sexual harassment.

Back in August, Lizzo filed an anti-SLAPP motion, arguing that her backup dancers' claims "arise from statements and other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest." The artist's lawyers also argued the accusers were using the lawsuit to "silence" Lizzo.

“It is dangerous for the court to weigh in, ham-fisted, into constitutionally protected activity,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “But it is equally dangerous to turn a blind eye to allegations of discrimination or other forms of misconduct merely because they take place in a speech-related environment.” 

In the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in August, Lizzo, her production team and Shirlene Quigley, captain of her dance team, are accused of several allegations, including weight-shaming, forcing dancers to endure sexually denigrating behavior, preaching about sexuality and Christianity, and pressuring them into participating in disturbing sex shows. 

The dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez claim Lizzo and her team put them through various sexual, religious, and racial harassments, disability discrimination, assault and false imprisonment, and more. Davis and Williams were fired, while Rodriguez resigned over the alleged behavior of Lizzo and her team. 

While the judge ruled that the case would proceed, he dismissed several of the allegations, per Billboard, including one allegation of sexual harassment on the set of the reality competition series Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls and a disability discrimination accusation. Lizzo and Quigley will still face several allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination when the case heads to court.

“We’re very pleased with the judge’s ruling, and we absolutely consider it a victory on balance,” the dancers’ lawyer Ron Zambrano said in a statement. “He did dismiss a few allegations, including the meeting where Arianna was fat shamed, the nude photo shoot, and dancers being forced to be on ‘hold’ while not on tour. However, all the other claims remain, including sexual, religious and racial discrimination, sexual harassment, the demeaning visits to the Bananenbar in Amsterdam and Crazy Horse in Paris, false imprisonment, and assault. The ruling also rightfully signals that Lizzo – or any celebrity – is not insulated from this sort of reprehensible conduct merely because she is famous. We now look forward to conducting discovery and preparing the case for trial.” 

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