Lizzo is facing another lawsuit from a former employee alleging a hostile work environment, this time by a former wardrobe designer who says the singer condoned a “sexually and racially charged” workplace on tour.
In the lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, plaintiff Asha Daniels accuses Lizzo, the singer’s production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. and wardrobe manager Amanda Nomura of a number of crimes, including sexual and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault and retaliation.
The new lawsuit comes more than a month after three of Lizzo’s former dancers sued the singer for similar claims of sexual harassment and fostering a hostile work environment, on the same day the singer was expected to receive the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award from the Black Music Action Coalition.
Although Lizzo is listed as a defendant, Daniels’ lawsuit doesn’t directly accuse her of the harassing behavior; it mainly focuses on behavior inflicted by Nomura, which Daniels says Lizzo failed to prevent.
Daniels joined the 2023 tour at Nomura’s request after already creating custom pieces for the run, but soon after, she was introduced to the “culture of racism and bullying,” the lawsuit says.
Throughout her brief employment, the suit alleges Nomura made “racist and fatphobic” comments, including her referring to Black women as “dumb,” “useless” and “fat.”
The suit also alleges management took a backstage manager’s photo “graphically depicting male genitalia” as comical when it was sent in a group chat of more than 30 people, “further encouraging an unsafe, sexually charged workplace culture.”
On top of often working daily without breaks, the lawsuit says, Daniels expressed concern about a lack of privacy and accommodations for the Black female performers, and Nomura allegedly responded by laughing, and advised Daniels to not alert anyone about the issue.
Daniels also says Nomura shoved her into a rack of clothes after rolling over her foot, causing the designer to roll her ankle, after which she had to continue working.
When “enough was enough,” the lawsuit states Daniels informed Lizzo’s tour manager Carlina Gugliotta of the “widespread racial and sexual harassment,” and believed Lizzo was told of these reports, but the toxic work environment continued without change, the lawsuit states.
Daniels was soon after fired “without notice or reason,” the suit says, despite Gugliotta acknowledging the team was aware of Nomura’s behavior. However, Gugliotta said Nomura would be too hard to replace, and wanted Daniels gone, the suit says.
The day she was fired, Daniels claims she suffered an allergic reaction and was denied medical care while being told to continue working. She also says the environment prompted constant anxiety and panic attacks, which she continues to suffer.
“Lizzo is the boss, so the buck stops with her,” Daniels’ lawyer, Ronald Zambrano, said in a statement to CBS News. “She has created a sexualized and racially charged environment on her tours that her management staff sees as condoning such behavior, and so it continues unchecked. Lizzo certainly knows what’s going on but chooses not to put an end to this disgusting and illegal conduct and participates herself.”
A spokesperson for Lizzo, Stefan Friedman, told NBC News the new lawsuit was an “absurd publicity stunt.”
He went on to say, “We will pay this as much attention as it deserves. None.”