A judge tossed out several parts of a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against singer Lizzo by her former dancers, but will allow the case to proceed to trial.
In August, three former backup dancers filed a lawsuit against Lizzo claiming that she physically threatened, weight-shamed and sexually harassed them. In the suit, dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez allege a hostile work environment, sexual, religious and racial harassment, assault and false imprisonment, among other accusations.
Lizzo denied “each and every allegation” outlined in the “outrageous” lawsuit. In October, she requested to have it dismissed under California’s anti-SLAPP statute — a law meant to quickly put an end to meritless lawsuits that threaten free speech, Billboard reported.
In a ruling this week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark H. Epstein decided that the anti-SLAPP statute doesn’t apply to all the allegations against the singer.
“It is dangerous for the court to weigh in, ham-fisted, into constitutionally protected activity,” the judge wrote in the court filing. “But it is equally dangerous to turn a blind eye to allegations of discrimination or other forms of misconduct merely because they take place in a speech-related environment.”
Rather than throwing the case out entirely, he granted Lizzo’s request in part, dismissing several of the allegations brought forward in the lawsuit but allowing the rest to proceed, according to Billboard.
“We’re very pleased with the judge’s ruling, and we absolutely consider it a victory on balance. He did dismiss a few allegations, including the meeting where Arianna was fat-shamed, the nude photo shoot, and dancers being forced to be on ‘hold’ while not on tour,” Ron Zambrano, the attorney representing the former dancers, told Entertainment Tonight (ET).
Still, the remaining allegations of sexual harassment, racial and religious discrimination, among others, remain in the now-condensed lawsuit, which can move forward to a trial.
“We are pleased that Judge Epstein wisely threw out all or part of four of the plaintiffs’ causes of action,” Stefan Friedman, Lizzo’s spokesperson, told ET. “Lizzo is grateful to the judge for seeing through much of the noise and recognizing who she is ― a strong woman who exists to lift others up and spread positivity. We plan to appeal all elements that the judge chose to keep in the lawsuit and are confident we will prevail.”
Lizzo’s representatives did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for additional comment.