(The Hill) — Popstar Lizzo on Friday filed a motion to dismiss a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by three of her former backup dancers, claiming that the group is only looking for a “quick pay day.”
The trio of dancers filed the suit in August, claiming Lizzo created a “hostile, abusive work environment”
The lawsuit accuses the music star of pressuring some of the plaintiffs into participating in a “severely uncomfortable” nude photo shoot, forcing them into a “sexually charged and uncomfortable environment” with nude performers at an Amsterdam nightclub and requiring the trio to undergo a “brutal” and “excruciating” 12-hour audition in order to keep their jobs.
Attorneys for Lizzo said the dancers were justifiably fired over poor conduct.
“Plaintiffs missed flights, arrived late and hungover to rehearsals and drunk to performances, entered into consensual sexual relationships with male crew members on tour, exhibited a rapid decline in the quality of their dancing and professionalism, and ultimately conspired to make and disseminate an unauthorized recording of a creative meeting with Lizzo and the dance cast,” the filing reads, according to Rolling Stone.
The filing included sworn statements from 18 current and former Lizzo employees testifying to her nature as a boss and the work environment on tour, saying the accusations from the dancers are unfounded.
The artist’s attorneys argue that the case should be dismissed under anti-SLAPP, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, grounds — a designation for meritless suits filed to stifle free speech. Anti-SLAPP motions are rare in sexual harassment suits and are usually reserved for defamation cases.
“The complaint — and plaintiffs’ carefully choreographed media blitz surrounding its filing — is a brazen attempt to silence defendants’ creative voices and weaponize their creative expression against them,” the filing notes.
The singer has denied the accusations from the suit and defended herself against the claims.
“I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days,” she said after the suit was filed in August. “I am very open with my sexuality and expressing myself but I cannot accept or allow people to use that openness to make me out to be something I am not.”