Thursday, September 21, 2023
HomeFashionLizzo’s Alleged Misbehavior Is Indefensible—But Some Critiques of Her Aren’t Sitting Right

Lizzo’s Alleged Misbehavior Is Indefensible—But Some Critiques of Her Aren’t Sitting Right

This week, it emerged that three of Lizzo’s former dancers had filed a lawsuit against the performer, alleging that she had engaged in sexual harassment, called inappropriate attention to one dancer’s weight gain, and created a hostile work environment, among other things. The rightful outcry against Lizzo has been swift, despite her recent statement characterizing her former employees’ allegations as false; Beyoncé omitted Lizzo’s name from a live performance of “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix),” and fans have been taking to social media to express their disappointment with the “Truth Hurts” singer.

I obviously don’t know exactly what happened between Lizzo and the plaintiffs, but I am generally of the opinion that a work environment has to be pretty damn bad for its employees to take the extreme risk of going public with their experiences—especially when the boss they’re up against is an internationally famous and beloved musician. Let’s say it now, because it needs saying: Abusive bosses who can’t respect their employees’ humanity deserve to be named and shamed, whether they’re Hollywood studio execs or corporate girlbosses or, yes, singers with a whole lot of public goodwill behind them. The accusations against Lizzo speak for themselves, and no amount of fatphobia or harassment she may have faced in her own career excuses her perpetuating it as an employer. 

However, I can’t help but notice that online, certain critiques of Lizzo seem rooted not in horror at her alleged abuse, or concern for her former employees, but in a desire to humble a fat, Black, unapologetically politically vocal woman simply for the sake of doing so. Unabashed racists, fatphobes, and misogynists are reveling in the opportunity to take her down a peg, seemingly without regard for the actual women who filed the lawsuit. 

Other reactions have stemmed from the idea that she’s made a career out of promoting body positivity. Of course, that has been a big part of the Lizzo’s brand for years—in 2022, she even launched a size- and gender-inclusive shapewear line, Yitty—but I have to wonder: Did Lizzo intentionally assume that responsibility, or did the media assign it to her, because that was the easiest way to make sense of her presence within a still predominantly white, thin music industry? 



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