Sophia Nahli Allison, a filmmaker who was hired in 2019 to direct a documentary about Lizzo, has come forward to say she quit the project after two weeks because the singer was “arrogant, self-centered, and unkind.”
Allison went public with her complaints Tuesday evening after three of Lizzo’s former tour dancers filed a lawsuit accusing the Grammy-winning pop star of sexual harassment, weight-shaming, and creating a hostile work environment.
The director posted a photo of herself filming a concert for the movie Love, Lizzo, and detailed her own alleged experiences with the singer on Twitter/X and her Instagram stories.
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The filmmaker said she was “sharing this because validating other Black women’s experiences is deeply important.”
“I usually do not comment on anything pop culture related,” Allison wrote in her post. “But, in 2019, I traveled a bit with Lizzo to be the director of her documentary. I walked away after about two weeks. I was treated with such disrespect by her. I witnessed how arrogant and unkind she is. I was not protected and was thrown into a shitty situation with little support. My spirit said to run as fast as you f–king can and I’m so grateful I trusted by gut. I felt gaslit and was deeply hurt but I’ve healed.”
She added that she supports the dancers who filed the lawsuit.
“Reading these reports made me realize how dangerous of a situation it was,” she wrote. “This kind of abuse of power happens far too often. Much love and support to the dancers.”
Sharing this because validating other Black women’s experiences is deeply important to me. pic.twitter.com/gd2xEK6szq
— Sophia Nahli Allison (@SophiaNAllison) August 1, 2023
The director received an Oscar nomination for the 2019 documentary short film, A Love Song for Latasha, about the shooting death of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins at a South Central Los Angeles store that became a flashpoint for the 1992 civil uprising.
Allison posted a follow-up tweet on Wednesday, saying she wanted “to be clear” about her claims.
“Lizzo creates an extremely toxic and hostile working environment and undermines the work, labor and authority of other Black and brown women in the process,” she wrote.
Lizzo is known for her message on body positivity and elevating women. But Allison said the singer’s brand is a “curated façade.”
“She is a narcissistic bully and has built her brand off lies. I was excited to support and protect a Black woman through the documentary process but quickly learned her image and ‘message’ was a curated façade. I stand with the dancers and anyone who has had similar experiences working with her and her team,” she tweeted.
to be clear… pic.twitter.com/JU2ZuDoZ9b
— Sophia Nahli Allison (@SophiaNAllison) August 2, 2023
Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez filed their lawsuit against Lizzo on Tuesday morning in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Davis and Williams began performing with Lizzo after competing on her Amazon reality series, Watch Out for the Big Grrrls in 2021, according to the lawsuit. The dancers were later fired. Rodriguez was hired after being performing in the singer’s “Rumors” music video, the suit says. Rodriguez resigned earlier this year.
The suit alleges Lizzo pressured the women to attend a sex show at a strip club in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, then pushed them to engage in sexual encounters with the performers.
The suit also says the superstar singer “called attention” to one dancer’s weight gain following a performance at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, leading the dancer to believe she could lose her job.
The lawsuit names Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Jefferson, her BIG Grrrl Big Touring Inc., and dance captain Shirlene Quigley. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
The complaint says Quigley tried to force her Christian beliefs onto the dancers and told co-workers that “no job and no one will stop me from talking about the Lord.”
Representatives for Lizzo and Quigley so far have not responded to requests for comment.
Lizzo Described as ‘Narcissistic Bully’ by Documentary Director
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