Lizzo Faces Fresh Allegations of Creating a Hostile Workplace on Tour

A former employee also accused the tour's wardrobe manager of abusive behaviors in new lawsuit, including referring to dancers as “fat,” “useless,” and “dumb."

Lizzo Faces Fresh Allegations of Creating a Hostile Workplace on Tour
Photo:Dave Simpson (Getty Images)

Weeks after Lizzo, her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc, and high-ranking members of her team were accused of sexual, religious, and racial harassment by three former backup dancers in a bombshell lawsuit, the singer has once again been sued by a former employee. Asha Daniels, a fashion designer who created custom clothing for the singer’s dancers, alleges that Lizzo allowed for a workplace where “degradation, forced physical labor, denial of medical care, sexual harassment, and racial harassment” was rampant.

Lizzo has denied all of the allegations made by her former employees. Of the new suit for assault, sexual harassment, racial harassment, disability discrimination, and more, her spokesperson, Stefan Friedman, issued a swift denial:

As Lizzo receives a Humanitarian Award tonight from the Black Music Action Coalition for the incredible charitable work she has done to lift up all people, an ambulance-chasing lawyer tries to sully this honor by recruiting someone to file a bogus, absurd publicity-stunt lawsuit who, wait for it, never actually met or even spoke with Lizzo.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday by Daniels, who joined Lizzo’s tour earlier this year. In the filing, Daniels accused the tour’s wardrobe manager, Amanda Nomura, of a series of abusive behaviors including referring to the dancers as “fat,” “useless,” and “dumb,” and forcing them to change in front of other members of the crew who would allegedly “lewdly gawk, sneer, and giggle” at them.

“I felt like I was living in a madhouse,” Daniels told NBC News of the environment. “It was totally shocking.”

Nomura, Daniels claimed, repeatedly used a “stereotypical sassy Black woman imitation” with regard to Lizzo and her dancers. When Daniels informed her that this behavior was offensive, she alleged Nomura ignored her.

Elsewhere in the suit, Daniels alleged that she was forced to maintain an exhausting schedule, which included working from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day of the week without breaks. In one specific instance, she accused Nomura of rolling a clothing rack over her ankle. When Daniels’ ankle swelled, she claimed she started to wear Crocs on the job only to be reprimanded and instructed to wear tennis shoes instead.

Nomura is also accused of instructing Daniels not to interact with Lizzo or “dress attractively” in her presence, as it might have inspired the singer’s jealousy.

Notably, Daniels’ filing also alleges the same sexual harassment named in the previous suit against Lizzo—specifically citing the alleged events in the Amsterdam strip club, Bananaenbar.

“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,” Daniels told NBC News. “And I was witnessing myself, the dancers and the background vocalists, and my local team in every city be harassed and bullied regularly.”

Ultimately, Daniels claimed she told Lizzo’s tour manager, Carlina Gugliotta (who’s also named in the suit) of her concerns about Nomura’s behavior. Gugliotta, she claimed, apologized and told her “everyone” knew Nomura was “crazy.” Even still, Gugliotta is accused of saying that the wardrobe manager was too difficult to replace and that Nomura wanted Daniels “gone” for expressing her concerns, per Daniels’ suit. These concerns, Daniels claims, were relayed by Gugliotta to Lizzo.

Weeks later, Daniels learned she was fired—before her contract was up—when she was sent a plane ticket via email.

Jezebel was not able to reach Gugliotta or Nomura for comment.

“Black women deserve to work in spaces where we feel safe, where we aren’t being harassed, where we aren’t being sexualized,” Daniels said. “We’re allowed to just be great and work hard, and be treated the way that everyone else is allowed to be treated.”

Daniels is seeking damages including unpaid wages and loss of earnings. She is represented by Ron Zambrano, the attorney who’s also defending the singer’s three former backup dancers. In a statement about Daniels’ suit, Zambrano said: “Lizzo is the boss, so the buck stops with her.”

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