Lizzo hired celebrity-lawyer Marty Singer to defend her in her dancers’ lawsuit

Yesterday, Lizzo responded to her former dancers’ lawsuit. The dancers are suing Lizzo, her tour company and her dance-manager for sexual harassment, racial discrimination, religious discrimination and creating a hostile work environment. The dancers’ accusations are detailed and very serious. Other people within the industry, like documentarian Sophia Nahli Allison, have backed up the dancers’ general claims that Lizzo is a narcissistic bully who has created a hostile and unsafe work environment, and that Lizzo simply treats people like sh-t. Here’s part of Lizzo’s response:

In a statement posted Thursday morning to her Twitter account, the star said the allegations in the lawsuit – that she and her company created a hostile work environment that also included religious and racial discrimination – were as “unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.”

“I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days,” Lizzo wrote. “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.”

The star paid particular attention to a claim in the lawsuit that she had “called attention” to a dancer’s weight gain – an especially loaded allegation against an artist who has made body positivity a central aspect of her personal brand.

“There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world,” Lizzo wrote. “I know what it feels like to be body shamed on a daily basis and would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight.

[From Billboard]

I’m once again including her statement at the end of the post – my first thought was that her comments didn’t seem properly vetted by a lawyer, but on second look, maybe the statement was purposefully vague on details when it comes to specific accusations. Lizzo has hired Marty Singer to defend her in this lawsuit – Singer is one of the biggest names in “celebrity law” and he’s defended a who’s who of predatory psychos, from Bill Cosby to Chris Brown to Johnny Depp to Charlie Sheen. He’s also represented John Travolta, Jim Carrey, Ricky Martin, Jonah Hill, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Costner and many more. He’s known for representing men in trouble, but he has worked with some celebrity women before.

The lawyer representing Lizzo’s former dancers spoke at length to several media outlets yesterday. He called Lizzo’s statement dismissive, and he detailed many of the incidents which led to these women suing Lizzo, like Lizzo berating the dancers and confiscating their phones while they were touring through Europe and scaring the sh-t out of them constantly. You can read People’s coverage here.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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36 Responses to “Lizzo hired celebrity-lawyer Marty Singer to defend her in her dancers’ lawsuit”

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  1. Jj Parker says:

    Can we talk about the cellphone confiscation point please. Which corporate company would ever allow a meeting to be recorded without it being disclosed upfront and be okay with that. Not google, Apple or any company I can think of. Additionally let’s say the phone issue specifically was on a Beyoncé tour, do you honestly think those dancers would have gotten out of the building without the recording being deleted. Come on.

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      Sure. A few things to note though: I’m definitely going to surreptitiously record something if there is illegal activity going on, under the whistleblower statute, especially because there is no expectation of privacy in any state when there are more than three people around.

      In this case, she claims it was because she had a medical condition and wanted to review the recording later. The reaction to her having recorded the meeting could have been handled very differently. For instance, with someone explaining the seriousness of it and why it was not allowed. Then asking her to delete it and asking to double check that it was gone. But, no. The environment itself was one of intimidation and fear, and someone was worried they did something wrong in that tape. That’s why they had that reaction.

      • JJParker says:

        Okay but the dancer as far as I can see didn’t allege that anything illegal was going on in the meeting? She doesn’t talk about what was important in that meeting or the contents of the meeting.

        On a lot of tours, staff are made to sign NDA’s. I’m not sure if that was the case here, but recording with out letting the participants know…
        Also have you ever been to a BTS sound chcek? Recording isn’t allowed there, and if they do, phones are confiscated, and material deleted.

    • MF says:

      A person’s cell phone is their personal property. Your employer does NOT have the right to confiscate it.

      There are legal steps they can take. They can create a rule that says you’re not allowed to record anything; they can have you sign an NDA; and they can sue if you’re in a one-party consent state.

      But none of that entitles them to take or tamper with your phone.

      • Jj parker says:

        Yes it maybe their personal property, but if they are using the phone in an unsanctioned surreptitious way, then there maybe consequences. As I first stated, name any corporate company which would be okay with that sort of action? Again, if this was Beyoncé or Taylor Swift even, who freaked when a picture of her was taken at a private members club, on a cellphone do you really think that the body guards would have allowed the dancer to leave without the material being deleted. If you do, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

      • Melly says:

        The police can’t tamper with or search your phone without a warrant, so employers definitely can’t

      • Kate says:

        @MF is correct. Further, should an employee enter an agreement the prohibits recording then break that agreement, the employer cannot repond by taking their personal device or holding the employee in a hotel room. The comment regarding Beyonce/TS: “Could this happen?” Sure, but breaking a NDA-type agreement is a civil matter and that does not permit a criminal response by the employer.

      • Jj parker says:

        The law on going through phones I’m almost certain is different in Europe than America, as is recording conversations. I suspect that is why they are alleging it was because she has special needs, and not because they were gathering dirt.

        I think they were fired in Europe, because the dancer videos change when the us leg starts.

        I still maintain that most companies would not be okay with secret recordings. They are protecting they brands, property trade secrets and so is she.

        I also maintain that the same would have happened on many other tours. The dancers would have been made to delete the recordings. They have not alleged that anything illegal was going on in the meetings, they should have disclosed what they were doing. If you don’t agree with that, that’s fine, but in my opinion they should have disclosed what they were doing/wished to do , and their particular incident might not have happened.

      • Jj parker says:

        Let’s go back to the Beyoncé j. Z and solange incident in the elevator. It’s a legally placed recording device in an elevator.

        The person who sold the footage inside of the elevator is fired. The person has taken footage from inside and sold it/made it available to people outside of the company.

        How do we know that those girls wouldn’t hVe sold the tapes to TMZ or the like if they had kept the recordings, and how is it any different. The expectation of privacy that everyone keeps on going on about in that situation is zero. How do you defend what the guy did, over what she did.

    • ML says:

      JJ Parker, In is he NLs employers have the right to forbid cell phone usage, but they may NOT confiscate it. An employer also may NOT force you to open your cell phone and search its contents. What the dancer is alleging is incredibly illegal. Even if Lizzo saw her recording, she cannot interfere with personal property like the security guard did.
      Out of curiosity, in what world can an employer go to your home and send in someone to search it if they think you’ve taken something?? You need a warrant and it has to be done by the police or someone involved in the justice system. This surely must also be against US law: search and seizure??

      • Jj parker says:

        Again you are talking about US law and this happened in Europe.
        But let’s play devils advocate. Say this was an an FBI meeting, NSA, any IS government agency, and someone recorded the meeting. Do you think they don’t have the right take that persons property and delete what was discussed on it?

        If you say oh but government, what if they were discussing unreleased tour dates, new song Melodie’s, any number of things that she didn’t want out there. I need to see what the law is in Europe. I’m not convinced that your employer can’t go through your phone in Europe without a warrant.

      • lionfire says:

        I’m from EU country.Your employer absolutely can NOT go/touch/take your personal phone. That’s a very serious breach of privacy, we don’t have GDPR laws for nothing. On the other hand, in my country, no recording can be used in court if the recorded person isn’t told in advance that a conversation will be recorded.

      • Jj parker says:

        For all of the people in the comments saying that a warrant is needed to confiscate property, doesn’t the government usually require warrants to legally record people?

      • Bumblebee says:

        @JJParker, in reference to the FBI, NSA meetings, any classified govt meetings can happen in secured rooms that have lockers outside the room. You lock all electronic devices in the lockers before entering that meeting room. So no one can record anything. Also, there is the espionage act, so no need for NDAs.

    • Concern Fae says:

      This! If you are told you cannot record and you do it is an instant firing offense! And disability doesn’t matter. All disability accommodations have to be requested and then granted by your employer. You don’t get to break the rules and then cry disability when caught.

      As I said before, I watched her reality show. To find plus size dancers, she was hiring a lot of newbies, people without experience or understanding of the expectations that come at that level of the profession. It was kind of hard to watch. It’s sad that no one stepped in and said you could have some real problems here, bring in people who can handle dancers not used to the industry.

      Things were bad, but I’m sure that the experience issue helped it get so out of hand. Dancers didn’t have peers to reach out to to ask about expectations.

  2. hangonamin says:

    oh look her bestie Chris Brown recommended his lawyer to her.

    • Jj parker says:

      Melly in the states that’s true, but weren’t they fired in Europe? Isn’t that what the dancer says? Im not sure that the same law hold in Europe. Regardless the cellphone point, the dancers have lost me. They may have valid points in other parts of their argument, but not that one. Im my opinion she were trying to gather dirt, because she knew the writing was on the wall and things were going south.

      • Julie says:

        Please go take a look at EU privacy laws. They are incredibly strict. No employer is allowed to confiscate your phone or even ask to see it. We do not even have Threads yet in the EU because GDPR isn’t respected. There are even countries in the EU where your employer isn’t allowed to email/contact you out of office hours. So what Lizzo did is illegal.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        Privacy laws in Europe are far more strict than the ones in the States.

        If she is planning to use that as an excuse in court, she’ll be toast, she actually did something criminal in response to an employment matter (fire the girl, but taking the phone away could lead to Lizzo being charged in a criminal court).

        And Marty Singer, really? Johnny Depp’s lawyer?? Good grief.

  3. aquarius64 says:

    Being represented by a lawyer for a rogues’ gallery of toxic male celebrities is not a good look IMO. Lizzo is signaling she is planning to go scorched earth on these dancers in court.

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      Right? This is such a bad look. She should have signed an employment attorney but instead she got an attorney who specializes in representing powerful, toxic men.

      She just keeps digging that hole.

      Sidenote: one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs is well known in the legal industry as a bulldog. They couldn’t have picked a better legal team.

    • Matilda says:

      You might as well have admitted guilt by taking on a lawyer who only seems to represent truly problematic clients.

    • TikiChica says:

      Reminds me of a Spanish saying that roughly translates to:
      “Tell me who you associate with, and I will tell you who you are”.

  4. Cj says:

    Her statement highlights that she wouldn’t fire someone for their weight but she doesn’t mention or refute at all the claims about making people participate in the sex show. If I hadn’t done that, I’d be sure to say so.

    But even being a bad boss and doing half of this wouldn’t warrant trolls and people attacking her appearance and size in comments. People now feel they have an excuse to spout the awful things they think about black women who don’t fit a specific standard. And it’ll just make it easier to muddy what these dancers have really gone through by shifting the focus off them as victims and onto unnecessary attacks on Lizzo.

    I hope the dancers get their voices heard properly in court and on social media so they can get a resolution that helps them move forward from being mistreated in any way.

    I was just getting into her music as well… but you can’t be an ally (even to your own community) if you use your power to harm the people you claim to want to empower.

  5. shanaynay says:

    It’s too early to tell, but I think this just might be a way to get some money. Of course, I wasn’t there nor am I involved with the situation, but that’s my opinion.

  6. SquiddusMaximus says:

    Oh boy. This is not something I want to believe… and I do have to wonder if part of it is rooted in the fact that the know she is more vulnerable to public persecution as a black woman. Accusations against a wealthy white male probably won’t stick — hello, Robin Thicke — but she could be worth the gamble.

    So hear me out: If these allegations are true, it’s effing awful. But I work in an industry where we regularly see the most bogus accusations leveled because the workers have the backing of a union, and there will never be any backlash. Seriously, bitterness and resentment are all it takes to accuse someone of harassment, and it’s a losing battle for the company. I am pro-union, but people do exploit it.

    I’m going to wait for the evidence before leveling judgment, but it’s sad and disappointing either way. Someone is being abused.

    • hangonamin says:

      are these dancers in a union tho? My impression was no. And i’m inclined to believe there’s some badness going around if more than 1 individual and another outsider is speaking out. even if the stories aren’t 100% true, it does seem like a super toxic work environment

    • amyy says:

      her accusers are black women.

    • Pulplove says:

      I get what you’re saying in your first paragraph. I wish Lizzo herself would’ve had these considerations regarding the vulnerability of Black women when doxxing and thereby sending an internet mob after the Black Postmates driver wrongfully accused by Lizzo of “stealing her food”.

  7. Spillthattea says:

    Sadly I believe this. The power went to her head, and her own self hate spewed all over her dancers. I hope she learns from this because it’s going to cost her everything.

  8. Jack says:

    Emily D Baker did a good breakdown of the lawsuit yesterday and what claims are/are not violations – worth a watch rather than making assumptions!

  9. Maddie says:

    Sadly as soon as I saw Marty Singer I knew for sure all of this was true. Only guilty celebs hire him! He was my landlord many moons ago and man was he awful

    • Evev says:

      I thought the same thing. I was leaning towards believing the dancers anyway, but this sealed it for me. Having your picture next to all the men that he has represented is not a good look in any way

  10. Brassy Rebel says:

    It’s really sad that in any entertainment field, be it music or films, there will always be plenty of work for people like Marty Singer.

  11. jferber says:

    I’m saving my judgment until AFTER the court proceedings. Always loved Lizzo and she deserves a fair chance in the justice system without people condemning her before all the facts are out. And people hating on Lizzo now for her “unconventional” appearance that doesn’t fit societal/industry norms is disgusting. No call to hate on anyone for that. I’m with the commentator above who said had Lizzo been a white man, this would be a totally different scenario, with (looking at you, TMZ), probably 88% of the people being on the big star’s side. Because she’s a Black Woman, she is not even getting the benefit of the doubt.

    • Nic919 says:

      If the allegations of forcing the women to interact with nude dancers is true, that’s something male bosses would be ripped apart for too.

      There is major toxic environment stuff going on here and being mean to dancers about their weight is the least significant thing.