Pop singer Lizzo tearfully accepted a humanitarian award Thursday in Beverly Hills amid a growing number of lawsuits accusing her of harassing, bullying, and otherwise abusing her staffers and backup performers and associates.
The singer was thrilled to accept the Black Music Action Coalition’s Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award only hours after yet another lawsuit was filed against her by a former employee.
Lizzo was hit with a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles in August by three dancers who accused her of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. The dancers accused her of “fat-shaming” them and also of not paying them their wages.
But on Thursday, just ahead of the appointed time for her award presentation, another lawsuit was filed by yet another employee, NBC News reported.
This latest woman, fashion designer Asha Daniels, said of Lizzo: “I was listening to this Black woman on this huge stage have this message of self-love and caring for others and being empathetic and being strong and standing up for others. And I was witnessing myself, the dancers and the background vocalists and my local team in every city be harassed and bullied regularly.”
Daniels says that Lizzo’s wardrobe manager, Amanda Nomura, was an abuser, and when Daniels complained to Lizzo, the singer immediately fired Daniels.
While accepting her award hours later, the rotund pop star gushed about how much the award meant to her.
“Thank you so much for this. Because I needed this right now. God’s timing is on time,” Lizzo told the crowd, likely alluding to the lawsuits, according to USA Today. “I didn’t write a speech because I don’t know what to say in times like these.”
“I’ve been blessed to receive a lot of incredible awards, but this one truly hits different because humanitarianism, you know, in its nature is thankless. You know, it’s selfless,” Lizzo added. “And to be kind to someone isn’t a talent. You know, everyone can do it.”
Despite the accusations against her, Lizzo exclaimed that she intends to “be who I am no matter who’s watching.”
“I’m going to continue to shine a light on the people who are helping people because they deserve it. I’m going to continue to amplify the voices of marginalized people because I have a microphone and I know how to use it,” Lizzo told the crowd. “And I’m going to continue to put on and represent and create safe spaces for Black fat women.”
Lizzo has countersued her previous employees in the first case filed in August, accusing the ex-employees of “malicious prosecution.”
But the lawyer for the former employees blasted the singer’s return fire.
“Lizzo’s threat to countersue for malicious prosecution is an insidious attempt at intimidation and delivers a chilling effect to all harassment victims in the workplace,” said attorney Ron Zambrano, according to Essence. “The scare tactics, bullying and victim shaming coming from Lizzo’s team is exactly the behavior employees face in the entertainment industry who feel they have no choice but to ‘suck it up’ for access and success.”
The lawsuits may have already had one negative effect on Lizzo’s career. Right after the reports of harassment filed against her, the NFL reportedly dropped her from consideration as a halftime performer for next year’s Super Bowl. The NFL announced this weekend that Usher will take on the coveted role.