Judge denies Lizzo's attempt to throw out sexual harassment suit

 February 5, 2024

A Los Angeles judge denied an attempt by singer Lizzo to drop a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit by three of her dancers, rejecting her reasoning that her communications with them are protected by the First Amendment but excluding some of their claims. 

The dancers sued Lizzo claiming they were forced to attend sex shows, do a nude photoshoot, and listen to religious and racial tirades by her management.

“It is dangerous for the court to weigh in, ham-fisted, into constitutionally protected activity,” Judge Mark Epstein wrote. “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.”

Both sides claimed a victory after Epstein's ruling, which excluded the nude photo shoot but included most of the other claims by Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez.

Walking a fine line

While Epstein did concede some claims were protected by the First Amendment, he noted, “The fact that the alleged incidents take place in the entertainment or speech world is no shield of invulnerability or license to ignore law enacted for the protection of California’s citizens.”

The dancers claims that "they had their virginity mocked, were placed in 'false imprisonment' and found themselves frequently at the receiving end of religious tirades from members of Lizzo’s tour staff" will be part of the trial, according to Deadline.

They also claim racial discrimination against them by Lizzo's all-white management team.

The case will have to balance Lizzo's rights under California's SLAPP law with the dancers'.

Still went to Grammys

Despite the accusations, Page Six reported that Lizzo attended the Grammy Awards on Sunday night.

“What’s up, everybody? Here’s the Grammy Award that’s gone to the all-time greats, from Stevie Wonder to Prince to Alicia Keys to Beyoncé. These are our soulfully gifted nominees for best R&B song,” she said, then presented the Grammy for best R&B song to her friend SZA and getting a big hug.

Some fans thought she should have kept a lower profile until the case is decided.

“I thought I’d see Tupac before I’d ever see Lizzo again #GRAMMYs,” one fan joked on X. Tupac has been dead since 1996, in case you don't follow rap.

“So…..whatever happened to the Lizzo allegations???? They just went away or???? And now she’s at the Grammys like nothing happened?” another person asked.

On the other hand, she is innocent until proven guilty.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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