Exploring the recent allegations facing rapper, singer, songwriter, actress and musician ‘Lizzo’, and how the positive pop-icon has been accused of fostering a toxic work environment.
Who is ‘Lizzo’
Melissa Viviane Jefferson, known professionally as Lizzo, rose to fame in 2016 with her single ‘Good as Hell.’ Her mainstream success followed, and she became known as the queen of inclusivity, positivity, and activism. Her hit singles ‘Juice’ and ‘About Damm Time’ engrained a deep iconography surrounding Lizzo, with fans recognizing her positivity surrounding body image and femininity. Her visible presence on social media enabled strong connections with her fanbase.
What Allegations are Surrounding ‘Lizzo’?
Former dancers of Lizzo came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and enabling a toxic work environment.
Dancer Arianna Davis recounted a fat-shaming experience between Lizzo and her choreographer Tanisha Scott, who accused her of performing to a lower standard due to a potential weight gain. Both Lizzo and Tanisha pressed Arianna for an explanation for her weight gain, and she later admitted she was terminated after admitting she was struggling with an eating disorder.
Dancers alleged they were subject to sexual harassment; the lawsuit claimed Lizzo invited dancers to attend a sex show in the Red Light District of Amsterdam and were pressured to engage with performers. Lizzo apparently encouraged
“Cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.”Francesca Bacardi
Hostile Work Environment
All of the allegations alluded to a hostile work environment, with the lawsuit detailing the shaming and dehumanizing of the predominantly Black female dance team. Former employees of the star have come forward following the release of the lawsuit, detailing their shared experiences under the employment of Lizzo.
Any artist who faces these types of allegations will inevitably face a massive loss to their career. Yet, the nature of the allegations, which address concerns over body shaming and sexual harassment, directly contradict her beloved reputation for promoting body positivity, inclusivity, and acceptance.
The artist has lost 220k followers on Instagram, 100k followers on TikTok, a decline in streaming numbers, and even removal from Beyonce’s ‘Break My Soul’, which usually shouts out Lizzo and others to celebrate Black female artists.
Lizzo responded to the allegations with a lengthy post uploaded to her social media.
These allegations impact the artist and their loyal fanbase that has devoted their time and energy to the artist. Lizzo’s visible and vibrant fanbase was encouraged by her strong presence on social media; her videos were uplifting and positive and had a meaningful impact on her audience. As more fans are impacted by these allegations, it reminds them of what Lizzo’s community once celebrated.
With Lizzo’s career seemingly on the decline, the result of the lawsuit will determine if the pop icon can bounce back from these allegations.