Target pop star’s wardrobe manager
A former Lizzo employee is accusing the singer of repeated sexual and racial harassment in new court papers, with much of the complaint targeting the singer’s wardrobe manager for her alleged “fatphobic” comments.
Asha Daniels’ still unofficial Los Angeles Superior Court suit names as defendants the entertainer, whose real name is Melissa Jefferson; her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc.; her wardrobe manager, Amanda Nomura; and her tour manager, Carlina Gugliotta.
Daniels designed the wardrobe for the dancers who would be on Lizzo’s 2023 tour. The plaintiff’s other causes of action include disability discrimination, illegal retaliatory termination and assault. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
The legal action comes a month after Lizzo was sued by three former dancers who say they were weight-shamed and forced to endure illegal sexual, religious and racial harassment and disability discrimination.
Responding to the dancers’ lawsuit, Lizzo denied the plaintiffs’ allegations and said there is “nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world.”
Attorney Ronald L. Zambrano, who represents all of the plaintiffs in both cases, said more than two dozen former Lizzo employees have similarly complained about alleged abuse and harassment and could be future plaintiffs. “This is not going away,” Zambrano said. “Lizzo is the boss so the buck stops with her. She has created a sexualized and racially charged environment on her tours that her management staff sees as condoning such behavior and so it continues unchecked. Lizzo certainly knows what’s going on but chooses not to put an end to this disgusting and illegal conduct and participates herself.”
Daniels, who like Lizzo is Black, looked forward to working with the performer and her team because of the values the singer shows in public, but the opposite turned out to be true, the plaintiff’s court papers state.
But throughout her employment with Lizzo, Daniels heard racist and “fatphobic” comments from Nomura, who mocked both Lizzo and the singer’s background dancers on multiple occasions, the plaintiff’s court papers state.
Nomura would imitate the dancers and Lizzo by doing an offensive stereotypical impression of a Black woman, according to Daniels’ court papers, which further state that Nomura referred to Black women on the tour as “dumb,” “useless” and “fat.”
Daniels and other crew members also received threats of physical harm from Nomura, according to Daniels’ court papers, which further state that the plaintiff was fired in March and suffers from anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines, sight distortions, brain fog and fatigue.