(Updated with statement from Lizzo spokesperson) The legal battle over claims of assault, harassment and discrimination between Lizzo and a trio of former tour dancers and reality show contestants has turned into a constitutional tussle, at least for now.
“Can a global celebrity be forever shielded from civil liability because all of their conduct is protected as free speech under anti-SLAPP statutes?” Just ask the lawyers for Ariana Davis, Crystal Williams and Noel Rodriguez, who rhetorically protested this week’s attempt to have the Grammy winner’s case thrown out of court. “Defendant Lizzo has requested this Court to rule in exactly the same manner. Luckily for all victims of celebrity malfeasance, the law says otherwise.
(Read the opposition memorandum on Lizzo’s anti-SLAPP petition here)
Recipient of Record of the Year at 65th Shirlene Quigley, head of the Grammys, Lizzo and her Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc. and dance team have previously been accused Lizzo’s eye on big girls Contestants Davis and Williams, along with Rodriguez, are facing body shaming and having to go through “excruciating” auditions for their jobs.
The lawsuit, filed in LA Superior Court on August 1, also alleges that the dancers were forced to disrobe and participate in sex shows at venues such as Paris’ Crazy Horse Cabaret during the tour, mocking their virginity , He had to endure the “liar”. Imprisonment” and became the target of religious firing. The lawsuit claims racial discrimination on the part of the all-white management team against Davis, Williams, and other non-African American dancers.
Following another lawsuit from Asha Daniels, a wardrobe designer who worked on Lizzo’s 2023 tour, by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sophia Nahli Ellison claiming disrespect by Lizzo’s camp, Davis, Williams and Rodriguez’s nine-claim complaint remains unsettled. Demands damages.
In addition to denials by Lizzo’s representatives, declarations of her good character by staff and other dancers, and an October 27 anti-SLAPP motion Juice The singer herself (real name Melissa Jefferson), Lizzo, has denied the claims. She went online in early August and described the allegations as “sensational and coming from former staffers who had already publicly acknowledged that they had been told that her behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.” ”
This week, Team Lizzo has been accused of being essentially unprofessional, or at least strategically selective.
“In an apparent effort to deceive this Court, the defendants either take the allegations seriously or completely omit the allegations inconvenient to their position, instead sanctifying them with euphemisms,” the plaintiffs said. The November 8 filing from the lawyers continues with the implied swipe at Lizzo. Heavyweight attorney Marty Singer and his team at Lovely Singer.
“None of Plaintiff’s claims arise out of conduct involving a public issue or interest,” the memo from attorneys at West Coast Lawyers APLC said. The document continues, “How does it reflect public interest if Quigley actually reveals how she masturbates or performs oral sex on a banana? Or when Lizzo attempted to attack plaintiff Rodriguez? Or when Plaintiff Davis was stripped of his phone and confined to a room? These acts, which give rise to the claims at issue here, do not involve public issues, and thus cannot be protected.
Ultimately, the 19-page filing emphasizes that Lizzo’s special motion to strike “should be rejected in its entirety because Plaintiff’s claims do not arise from conduct that is protected under the Code of Civil Procedure.”
“The ‘celebrities-do-what-they-want’ argument was previously shut down by an appeals court in a case[in which]Marty Singer’s firm represented Shia LaBeouf,” plaintiffs’ attorney Ron Zambrano told Deadline today. did.” “They should know better.”
“Last month, 18 independent witnesses stood by Lizzo’s work ethic and character,” a spokesperson for the artist said Friday. “It has since become clear, these plaintiff lawyers have come up with absolutely zero to refute these facts.”
Lizzo’s “Special” tour began on September 23, 2022, and ended on July 30 in Japan. With the exception of receiving the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award in LA in September, Lizzo has kept a fairly low profile lately.
The anti-SLAPP fight in the case is scheduled for hearing in a courtroom in Downtown LA on November 22.