Lizzo Denies Allegation in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
[Source: Fox News]
Celebrity lawyer Christopher C. Melcher, who is ranked as a best family law attorney in California, explains how Lizzo is denying the allegations made in a sexual harassment lawsuit against her by backup dancers on Fox News.
Lizzo saying Thursday that she’s quote, not the villain, that three of her former backup dancers falsely accuse her of being in a sexual harassment lawsuit. That civil lawsuit filed earlier this week in L.A. Superior Court claims that Lizzo pressured the dancers to engage with nude performers at a club in Amsterdam and shamed one of them for her weight gain before firing her. Christopher Melcher, a celebrity legal analyst, joins us live to discuss the situation.
So first off, kind of break down some of these allegations against Lizzo because they are quite disturbing and there’s a lot of them.
Lizzo’s Sexual Harassment Allegations
“There are three plaintiffs who have sued Lizzo and her production company, and these were contractors, although Lizzo is referring to them as employees- and so there was a business relationship between the two. The most disturbing or serious allegations that are being made is that during this relationship that they had with Lizzo, they were invited while in Amsterdam to go to a club where explicit things were happening, and that this was unwelcome and unwanted.
They felt uncomfortable, but they also felt that they couldn’t say no because they would fall out of her favor. They went ahead and things happened at that club that made them upset. So they’re claiming sexual harassment, that they were in a put into a hostile work environment in this situation that, again, was unwelcome to them. That’s what their claim is. They’re also saying that the work conditions were very harsh, that Lizzo was exacting and made, them re-rehearse one time for 12 hours straight. One of the plaintiffs is claiming that she was shamed about her body image by Lizzo. Those are the claims that are being made basically- workplace related claims,” states Christopher C. Melcher, a top family law attorney in California.
Lizzo’s Response to Sexual Harassment
And what did you think of Lizzo’s response? We talked a little bit about that, where she said she’s not the villain. She put out a fairly lengthy statement a few days after the allegations were made public. She posted that on her Twitter page. What do you think about that response overall? Especially because she says she normally doesn’t respond to things like this, but she felt she needed to because it’s making the rounds all over social media and on various news outlets.
“I’m glad that she responded. I’m not a fan of what she wrote. It was very generic. There was a denial, there was a statement in there that these plaintiffs were not performing well or maybe had done some misappropriate things themselves, and that’s why they were terminated, but she didn’t give any specifics. She made it about herself, about how hurtful this was to her-rather than just really addressing the allegations head on. So I kind of felt that it was weak or that it was missing something. She also acknowledged that these were employees of hers, which I was surprised that she would make that admission rather than just say that they were contractors because although there are duties that we have to our contractors- those are less than employees. She was also talking about that she’s an exacting producer, which is her right, and that this is very important to her, but also that kind of fed into the workplace conditions, allegations that was made. I’m not a fan of that statement. I think it could have been crafted better,” explains California law attorney Chris Melcher.
When news broke of this a few days ago, it picked up steam pretty quickly. And many people on social media, of course, say Lizzo is canceled. Others are coming to her defense. Did you think it would blow up to this level when you first heard the news?
Lizzo’s Lawsuit Media Attention
“I’m surprised about the attention that this story has received. The thing is, is that Lizzo has placed herself out there as being somebody very positive and proud of who she is. I think anytime an allegation is made against somebody who is projecting themselves in, in such a way that they can be canceled, that they can be questioned to saying, was this genuine to begin with? Or was it a front? We saw that with Ellen DeGeneres, somebody who also put herself out there as being very positive, but then a lot of allegations of behind the scenes- nastiness came out- and that was really the end of her show. So I think it was jarring, unexpected. This is not what we figured Lizzo was about, is what got traction for this story,” stated Chris Melcher high-net-worth California family law attorney.
And you’re obviously not representing Lizzo in this case in any way. You’re not representing her backup dancers, none of that. But what would you advise her to be doing right now if you were her attorney? Should she be staying silent or should she be posting statements all over social media?
What Lizzo Should Do
“Lizzo should have got out there ahead of this story because she was not blindsided by it. She would’ve known about these allegations through the employment process that is necessary to make this claim. So I would imagine months ago she knew about this and what I would’ve hoped that she would’ve done is start gathering evidence to establish whether these folks really wanted to go to these clubs. Maybe there’s emails or text messages organizing it or saying that they had a fun time afterwards. Maybe there’s audio, video or images of them there clearly enjoying themselves. This type of evidence, if it exists, could have been presented last week before the story broke or right, ready to go when the story came out. There was a video of one of the plaintiffs in April of 2023 praising Lizzo and, and singing her praises saying that she’s been a mentor, that she’s her queen, that she enjoyed doing this tour with her. And that was after all of these incidents allegedly occurred, so that she should have led with that, that got leaked a day later that she should have led with that video. That is, is really going be difficult for the plaintiff to explain why she was singing her praises in April and now suing her in August,” stated international family law attorney Chris Melcher.
Very interesting though, for sure. So this is a civil suit, I believe. Is it possible anywhere down the line, any of the allegations you’ve heard, anything that could potentially lead to a criminal case, criminal charges, anything standing out as far as that goes?
“Not at all. I mean, some of these other allegations that we’ve heard about other celebrities like Danny Masterson or stuff like that, this is in no way similar to that. There’s no allegation being made that Lizzo did anything directly to these plaintiffs or anyone else in a way that was touching them or harming them directly. This is a workplace misconduct claim- something that they felt uncomfortable in the workplace. So it was purely a civil damages thing. There is no indication of any criminal conduct by Lizzo.
Do you think this is going to escalate from here? Do you think it has peaked? What do you think is next in all of this?
What’s Next in Lizzo’s Lawsuit?
“Well, we’ve already heard some people come out and support these plaintiffs and saying that they had also worked for Lizzo and felt that she was mean to them. So this is really harmful to her. But I kind of think that that information has already come out there. The takeaway for Lizzo should be these are not your friends. Your employees and contractors are professionals that you have a business relationship with. If you want to go to clubs, take your friends to clubs. Don’t take your employees and contractors to clubs in Amsterdam,” stated Chris Melcher, partner of top family law firm Walzer Melcher Yoda LLP.
My last question for you here, what role does social media play in all of this? Because, you know, you have folks who take each and every side. You have social media police who think they know everything. What role does social media play in a situation like this as this is going through the court system?
Social Media’s Role in Lawsuits
“Well, the people are tried and convicted in social media before they ever get to court. Celebrities or other high profile individuals have realized that, and they go ahead and get ahead of these stories by developing the information that’s needed to defend themselves and either preemptively putting that out there to their communities or be ready to pounce on a story once it’s out there.
I think she’s a little bit behind the curve on this. That’s the power of social media is that we can spread information in our opinions very quickly on things. Now, sometimes that gets out of control because a lot of folks read headlines or read the initial part of the post and they don’t go and do the detailed dig.
If they don’t like Lizzo, then of course they are going to say, ‘this is validates everything I felt about her.’ My sense is that because information moves so quickly, if something like this comes out- get ahead of it. The advice that I’m giving to my clients is, be ready and don’t wait until a year or two from now to get to court,” stated Chris Melcher.
Christopher Melcher there, celebrity legal analyst. Anything you want to add about this case before I let you go?
Advice for Business Owners & Lawsuits
“The big takeaway for any of us who are business owners is that we have to be careful that we have obligations to our employees. We have obligations to independent contractors to provide a safe working environment. Sometimes those lines can get crossed where we feel a friendship with folks. This is a good example for all of us that are business owners, that we have to maintain those boundaries- otherwise claims are going to be made,” stated Christopher C. Melcher, celebrity divorce lawyer.
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