Lizzo has been hit with another lawsuit from a former employee, hours before the singer is set to receive a humanitarian award for “amplifying Black voices”.
On Thursday (21 September), fashion designer Asha Daniels, 35, filed a suit with the Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing her former boss – real name Melissa Jefferson – of allowing bullying, harassment and racial discrimination to take place behind the scenes.
Lizzo’s representative has vehemently denied the allegations on her behalf.
“I felt like I was living in a madhouse,” Daniels told NBC News the day before she filed the lawsuit against Lizzo and other members of the “About Damn Time” singer’s team.
“It was totally shocking,” she said. “I was listening to this Black woman on this huge stage have this message of self-love and caring for others and being empathetic and being strong and standing up for others.
“And I was witnessing myself, the dancers and the background vocalists and my local team in every city be harassed and bullied regularly,” she alleged.
“Lizzo is the boss, so the buck stops with her,” Daniels’ lawyer, Ron Zambrano, said in a Thursday statement.
Shortly after the suit was filed, the “Truth Hurts” singer’s representative responded to the allegations, calling them “bogus” and “absurd”.
“As Lizzo receives a Humanitarian Award tonight from the Black Music Action Coalition for the incredible charitable work she has done to lift up all people, an ambulance-chasing lawyer tries to sully this honour by recruiting someone to file a bogus, absurd publicity-stunt lawsuit who, wait for it, never actually met or even spoke with Lizzo,” spokesperson Stefan Friedman told NBC News.
“We will pay this as much attention as it deserves. None.”
The coalition announced on 6 September that they would be honouring 35-year-old Lizzo for her “dedication to pushing boundaries, amplifying Black voices and crashing through those glass ceilings creating space for Black women”.
The announcement came nearly a month after three of Lizzo’s former dancers had filed a lawsuit, accusing her of sexual harassment and fostering a hostile work environment.
The accusations fly in the face of Lizzo’s public persona. As a performer, she is known for promoting body positivity, women’s rights, LGBT+ rights, and anti-bullying.
In August, the Grammy-winning artist broke her silence on the first lawsuit, writing on Instagram: “My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticised. Usually I choose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.
Lizzo said that while she is “not here to be looked at as a victim”, she knows she is “not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days”.
“I’m hurt but I will not let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time,” she concluded.