Lizzo‘s accusers are fighting back on her recent motion asking the court to throw out their lawsuit. Ahead of a hearing set for Nov. 22, lawyers for Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez filed an opposition filing, claiming that anti-SLAPP statutes do not protect Lizzo from facing legal repercussions for the assault and discrimination allegations in their suit.
“Can a global celebrity be forever insulated from civil liability because all their conduct is protected as free speech under the anti-SLAPP statute? Defendant Lizzo asks this Court to rule in exactly that fashion,” the attorneys wrote. “Fortunately for all victims of celebrity malfeasance, the law says otherwise.”
The 19-page document asks that the court deny Lizzo’s motion to strike, after accusing the singer’s legal team of “sanitizing” the allegations with euphemisms. “In an apparent effort to dupe this Court, Defendants either cherry-pick allegations or outright omit allegations inconvenient to their position, instead sanitizing them with euphemisms,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys claimed.
Lizzo’s representatives responded to the allegations in a statement to Rolling Stone, pointing to character statements provided by her staffers several weeks ago.
“Last month, 18 independent witnesses stood by Lizzo’s work ethic and character,” Stefan Friedman, a spokesperson for the singer, said. “It is clear that since then, these plaintiff lawyers have come up with exactly zero to refute these facts.”
The new filing comes several weeks after Lizzo slammed the lawsuit, describing the allegations as a “fabricated sob story” in order to get a “quick payday.” In the motion, her lawyers alleged that the ex-dancers who filed the suit had shown a “pattern of gross misconduct” while working with the singer.
“Plaintiffs missed flights, arrived late and hungover to rehearsals and drunk to performances, entered into consensual sexual relationships with male crew members on tour, exhibited a rapid decline in the quality of their dancing and professionalism, and ultimately conspired to make and disseminate an unauthorized recording of a creative meeting with Lizzo and the dance cast,” read Lizzo’s previous filing.
In response to Lizzo’s motion, the plaintiffs’ attorney Neama Rahmani spoke out against the motion telling Rolling Stone that “filming a reality TV show doesn’t give Lizzo the right to break the law.”
“Even a first-year law student can see that ‘free speech’ does not cover Lizzo and her team’s illegal sexual harassment and racial, religious, and disability discrimination,” Rahmani wrote. “The defense’s declarants are either defendants accused of wrongdoing, or people who are on Lizzo’s payroll, and their statements can’t be considered by the judge. That’s a question for the jury.”
“Our clients have dozens of independent witnesses who support their stories, and we continue to receive inquiries from other former Lizzo employees who want to be new plaintiffs,” Rahmani added.
Lizzo’s motion includes 18 written declarations from Lizzo staffers — including former dancers, band members, and tour managers — which support the singer, including defenses against allegations that she fat-shamed one of the dancers and that she pressured them to attend a sexually explicit show at Bananenbar in Amsterdam.
In late September, Lizzo asked the court to dismiss the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the three former dancers denying “each and every allegation” made. The musician is seeking a trial by jury to fight the lawsuit.
Lizzo’s legal team also claimed the three dancers suing her “are guilty of unclean hands,” a legal term meaning that they are not entitled to any damages because they themselves failed to perform under the terms of their contracts.