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Lizzo’s Brand Faces Uncertain Recovery Amidst Sexual Harassment Lawsuit By Employees

The fallout from Lizzo’s recent sexual harassment case continues to grow with the singer losing close to 200,000 followers on Instagram. 

According to statistics published on Buzzfeed, Lizzo lost 32,000 followers between Aug. 1 and Aug.. 3; and 132,942 followers on the same day that she released statements denying the accusations against her by former group members; and since then, the number continues to grow. 

Lizzo poses during Reel To Reel: LOVE, LIZZO at The GRAMMY Museum on Dec. 14, 2022, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Sarah Morris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Lizzo, who has a current net worth of $40 million, focuses on body positivity and self-confidence in her music. The songstress, rapper, and songwriter found popularity with her album, “Cuz I Love You.” Her next album, “Special” solidified her commercial appeal and she won “Record of the Year” at the Grammy Award. 

Yet the bulk of Lizzo’s wealth comes from touring and her shapewear company, Yitty. 

On her most recent tour, “The Special Tour,” Lizzo grossed $66.5 million in sales, according to data compiled by Touring Data. For her “Cuz I Love You Too Tour” in 2019, Lizzo sold an estimated 250,000 tickets and earned $10.8 million, according to Billboard.

Her shapewear line, Yitty, earned $1 million within one day of dropping. Before the lawsuit was filed, Lizzo was expecting to earn $100 million from Yitty. 

Yet, with allegations swirling and Lizzo’s interest waning, she might become a casualty of cancel culture even before a court judgment. 

Inside The Lawsuit 

On Aug. 1, three of Lizzo’s former employees accused her of sexual harassment by filing a lawsuit. Within the suit, the former employees charge that she created a hostile work environment. Also named in the lawsuit is Lizzo’s production company, Big Grrrl Touring, and her dance captain, Shirlene Quigley. However, they are each faced with different allegations. 

“The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly, while privately, she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are not only illegal but absolutely demoralizing,” Ron Zambrano, the plaintiffs’ attorney said in a statement. 

The plaintiffs — Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez — Lizzo is accused of pressuring her dancers to go to a sex show at a strip club. At the show, Lizzo allegedly was “inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers.” Davis argues that she declined to participate four times and also would not eat  “bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas” as reported in Buzzfeed. 

Lizzo, however, claimed in a statement that “these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.”

Meanwhile, the lawsuit also claims that Lizzo required 12-hour rehearsals and fat-shamed a dancer who’d gained weight. The dancer was later fired. 

Lizzo countered the arguments by saying, “These sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional.” 

The dance caption, Quigley, is accused of forcing her religious beliefs on the dancers.

Yet as news of the lawsuit spread, Lizzo continued to receive backlash. Her former creative director, Quinn Nelson, and dancer Courtney Hollinquest supported the claims of former dancers. 

And in another blow, director Sophia Nahli Allison revealed that Lizzo’s disrespect was so great that Allison declined to film her documentary. 

A Fall From Grace 

Other celebrities have also had to deal with lawsuits that challenged their reputation and image with serious consequences to their careers. 

In 2022, Tiffany Haddish, along with fellow comedian Aries Spears, was accused of molestation through a lawsuit. The plaintiff alleged that she and her younger brother were coerced by Haddish and Spears to participate in inappropriate skits containing sexual activity during their childhood. Although the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, the accusations left Haddish’s career in shambles. 

“I lost everything,” she told TMZ. “All of my gigs gone.” 

Like Haddish, Kanye West has also experienced financial loss over behavior. After making a series of anti-Semitic remarks in 2022, West, who had reached billionaire status, saw his wealth plummet. He saw lucrative endorsement deals came to an end, including Adidas, CAA, and Balenciaga. 

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