This week, the singer Lizzo was accused by former background dancers of some pretty “interesting” accusations. Lizzo was accused of everything from fat-shaming one of her dancers to coercing a dancer into touching the breasts of a burlesque entertainer; one of the more important parts of the suit was when she was accused of being aware of a hostile work environment (including but not limited to her dance captain forcing her religious beliefs on others while also sexually harassing them) but doing very little to rectify the situation.
Two of the accusers were interviewed by TMZ, where they expressed that workplace favoritism was present, even if it was in implication alone.
Believe women is the new standard, even though Carlee Russell heavily tainted the waters of that ideology (especially when the abductions of Black women and girls are not only underreported by the media but are also statistically more likely to go missing than their white counterparts), that does not mean as a whole women’s stories should not receive the benefit of the doubt, but what if it is multiple women at odds with each other? Someone is lying or, at the very least, extremely mistaken.
The suit takes major aim at Lizzo’s dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, who was described by plaintiffs as the quintessentially sexually repressed bible thumper, who had no qualms with condemning others about their sex lives but was open about even some of her most (does not kink shame but kind of wants to) interesting fantasies.
The thing about believing someone is that who they are and what they represent to us and to the world makes a difference in their credibility, no matter how we feel about it.
Not being informed completely on an issue will not and does not stop people from openly discussing it, but what many people are doing is they are jumping at the opportunity to fat-shame Lizzo, people who were more than likely fat-shaming her before the suit was even filled. According to documents and this Twitter account, Lizzo expressed concern for the dancer’s health and offered her time off for mental health, which the plaintiff refused. One of the plaintiffs stated that joining Lizzo for after-hours partying could easily lead to exclusion from other activities, like going to Hawaii with Lizzo, for instance.
While most, if not all, their critiques could be valid, I take great exception to being upset that someone wanted to spend time with you, whether that made you uncomfortable or not and then being upset that they don’t take you on a trip, where you would be inevitably forced to spin more time with them. By no means am I stating that the plaintiffs could not have very well felt ostracized and that created a toxic work environment, but I highly doubt that your employer not taking you on a trip to Hawaii falls under that umbrella. Additionally, Lizzo has much greater power and influence over these other women, which could absolutely sway public perception of her favorably.
Lizzo has been the representation for fierce, fun, fat Black women for some years now and it also might make it more difficult for some of her fans to believe some of these allegations. More famous stars, especially male stars, who have actually been proven to have done much more egregious and nefarious things, still manage to escape unscathed and still loved; they are believed even with a mountain of evidence presented.
For me, I will choose to let this confliction be nothing more than something that is cleared up by their lawyers, the facts, and the jury. I can believe that the facts will present themselves.