Two lawsuits against pop star
A judge has found that two lawsuits involving former Lizzo employees who accuse the singer of repeated sexual and racial harassment are similar enough that he will preside over both of them.
On Monday, Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Mark H. Epstein “related” the case filed by ex-Lizzo wardrobe designer Asha Daniels on Sept. 21 with that brought by former Lizzo dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez on Aug. 1. He set a case management conference for both cases on Jan. 26.
Daniels' case had been before Judge H. Jay Ford III before Epstein's ruling. Her 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.
In their suit, the three former dancers say they were weight-shamed and forced to endure illegal sexual, religious and racial harassment and disability discrimination.
In an earlier response, the 35-year-old Lizzo denied the plaintiffs' allegations and said there is “nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world.”
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 suit states. 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 complained often to Nomura who rebuffed the plaintiff, Daniels' court papers state.
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.