Who Are the Former Backup Dancers Suing Lizzo? All About Noelle Rodriguez, Arianna Davis and Crystal Williams

Three of Lizzo’s former backup dancers — Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez — have sued the Grammy-winning performer.

In a lawsuit filed against Lizzo on Aug. 1, the dancers accuse the “Truth Hurts” rapper-singer of sexual harassment, racial harassment and creating a hostile work environment, as well as allege that they endured weight shaming while employed. Lizzo’s production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc., and her dance team captain, Shirlene Quigley, are also named in the suit. 

Lizzo Sued by Former Backup Dancers for Alleged Sexual, Racial Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

In their complaint, the dancers claim they faced racial harassment from BGBT management — which consisted entirely of White Europeans, according to the suit — alleging they “treated the Black members of the dance team differently than other members,” in addition to accusing them of “being lazy, unprofessional and having bad attitudes.”

Elsewhere in the filing, the dancers claim that while visiting the Amsterdam club Bananenbar, where attendees can interact with the nude performers, “Lizzo began inviting cast members to take turns touching the nude performers, catching dildos launched from the performers’ vaginas, and eating bananas protruding from the performers’ vaginas.”

The suit also accuses Quigley of proselytizing everyone around her, shaming those who engaged in premarital sex and oversharing her masturbatory habits and sexual fantasies.

Two days after the explosive lawsuit was filed, Lizzo responded to the claims in a lengthy statement posted to social media declaring that she is “not the villain” and that the allegations being made against her were “too outrageous” not to address.

“My work ethic, morals and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized,” she began. “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 statement continued in part.

Read on to learn more about Lizzo’s former backup dancers.

Arianna Davis, 24

Arianna Davis Instagram

Arianna Davis has been dancing since she was two years old, performing all different styles over the years, including ballet, tap and jazz.

Davis — along with former dancer Williams — began performing with Lizzo after competing on Watch Out for the Big Grrrls in 2021, the suit says. They were both later fired.

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“I really just decided that dance would be the thing that helps me move through the world,” the Indiana native said when she was a contestant on Watch Out For The Big Grrrls, Lizzo’s reality show that followed 13 performers as they competed to snag a spot as a backup dancer on her tour.

“The fact that Lizzo chose me to go on tour is so surreal,” Davis said on the Emmy-nominated series. “And thinking that this is the beginning of my journey is so exciting.”

In the lawsuit filed against Lizzo on Aug. 1, Davis claimed the “About Damn Time” singer “began pressuring” her to touch the breasts of one of the nude performers at the Amsterdam club Bananenbar, despite the dancer “expressing her desire not to touch the performer.”

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Davis also accused Lizzo — who is known for embracing body positivity — of weight shaming. According to the complaint, questions she was asked “gave Ms. Davis the impression that she needed to explain her weight gain and disclose intimate personal details about her life in order to keep her job,” though that was never explicitly stated.

Lizzo’s attorney, Marty Singer, responded to the lawsuit, referring to a resurfaced Watch Out For the Big Girls season 2 audition tape in which Davis praises Lizzo, saying “I look up to her so much.”

“Evidence of this being a sham lawsuit is confirmed by one of the plaintiffs Ariana Davis in her own words in her video interview for Season 2 of Watch Out for the Big Grrrls in April 2023, which she made after the European Tour, after virtually all of her alleged claims referred to in her lawsuit had already occurred,” Singer said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

“Notwithstanding her claims in the lawsuit that it was so horrible to work with Lizzo as a dancer, after being on tour with Lizzo, she actually auditioned to continue working with Lizzo as a singer on an upcoming tour as part of a girl group,” Singer claimed.

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In an interview with Access Hollywood, Davis responded to Singer’s statement. “Of course, I wasn’t going to say anything negative about the camp while I was still in it,” she said. “Right up until the last minute, I didn’t realize how bad it was and how much I was being taken advantage of.”

Davis continued, “I just genuinely wanted to save my job. This video further explains how much I was trying to please Lizzo. But it was such a toxic work environment because throughout all the abuse, I was still trying to please her and make her think that I was good enough.”

“This video was done before the bulk of our allegations occurred, and this was just me grasping at straws and my last attempt to make her see how committed I was to being loyal to her and her camp,” she added.

Crystal Williams, 26

Crystal Williams Instagram

Crystal Williams Instagram

Crystal Williams is a former backup dancer for Lizzo who was also fired, according to the lawsuit. She briefly appeared on the singer’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls season 1 before joining the singer’s Special Tour beginning in September 2022.

Prior to joining Lizzo on tour, the Texas native attended Sam Houston State University and performed with a college dance group. Shortly after graduating in 2020, she sent an online submission to Lizzo’s casting call.

“I thought maybe this is a sign. I did my video submission and everything, I put together a little montage video,” Williams told her college’s publication in February 2023. “My mass comm degree really popped out with that one because it was a nice audition video, I had two different slides going on while I was talking about myself.”

Williams was cast and eventually appeared on the competition series, though her time on the show was brief. She dropped out early after immediately being selected by the singer as one of her backup dancers.

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“It’s really fun to travel to different places in other parts of the world because I was only restricted to seeing Texas. Now I’m traveling more than I ever have and making more money than I ever have,” Williams told her college publication. “I’m just happy to experience this because I didn’t know that this was a thing for anybody like me, so it’s definitely a blessing.”

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Williams was among the three women who filed the lawsuit against Lizzo on Aug. 1, telling CBS she wanted to ensure that other dancers who work with the singer “don’t have to go through that same experience.”

Williams lost her job on April 26 when Lizzo’s tour manager fired Williams in a hotel lobby, according to the suit. The reported exchange took place after Williams spoke up at a meeting where she challenged an assertion from Lizzo that the dancers were drinking before performances.

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Noelle Rodriguez, 25

Noelle Rodriguez Instagram

Noelle Rodriguez Instagram

Noelle Rodriguez was hired as one of Lizzo’s dancers in 2021 after performing in the singer’s “Rumors” music video, however, she resigned in early 2023. Unlike the other two plaintiffs in the suit, Rodriguez did not appear on Watch Out For The Big Grrrls.

Prior to working with Lizzo, Rodriguez — who is also a Texas native — worked as a background dancer in season 1 of Euphoria, in addition to performing at the 94th Oscars in 2022. She also danced with Beyoncé at Coachella, Sam Smith on a Jingle Ball tour, and Janet Jackson at the Billboard Music Awards.

Rodriguez is one of Lizzo’s three former dancers who are suing the singer, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. and dance captain Quigley.

According to the lawsuit, Rodriguez confronted Lizzo shortly after Williams was fired and after a contentious meeting in which Lizzo and Quigley were “berating” Davis. Rodriguez claims she told Lizzo she felt disrespected and resigned from the tour.

Suddenly, the suit claims, Lizzo approached Rodriguez, “cracking her knuckles and balling her fists.” The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Zambrano, alleged to PEOPLE, “They were really freaked out that last day when Lizzo started yelling, screaming and getting in people’s faces and the dancers were… not just the plaintiffs — the other dancers were crying. It was just so intense.”

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