‘Truth hurts’: Lizzo rows back and doesn’t quit music industry

‘Truth hurts’: Lizzo rows back and doesn’t quit music industry
‘Truth hurts’: Lizzo rows back and doesn’t quit music industry Copyright AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
Copyright AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
By David Mouriquand
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Somewhat predictably, US pop star Lizzo, who has been accused and sued for sexual harassment, racial discrimination and fostering a hostile work environment by her dancers, is not leaving the limelight anytime soon...


Following the announcement that Lizzo was apparently quitting the music industry because of online bullying, the Grammy Award-winning singer has rowed back and un-quit.

Lizzo has explained that what she meant when she declared ‘I QUIT’ in a social media post doesn’t mean she is quitting music.

“I wanted to make this video because I just need to clarify (that) when I say ‘I quit’, I mean I quit giving any negative energy attention,” she said in a new video.

“What I’m not gonna quit, is the joy of my life, which is making music, which is connecting the people, ’cause I know I’m not alone. In no way, shape or form am I the only person who is experiencing that but those voices seem to be louder than the positive (ones).”

She continued: "If I can just give one person the inspiration or motivation to stand up for themselves, and say they quit letting negative people win, negative comments win, then I've done even more than I could've hoped for. With that being said, I'm going to keep moving forward, I'm going to keep being me."

Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson, built her reputation on body positivity, but has been accused and sued for sexual harassment, racial discrimination, fat shaming, and fostering a hostile work environment by several dancers.

She took to social media on 30 March to hit back against “being dragged by everyone in my life”, which some interpreted to mean that she was contemplating walking away from the music industry.

“I’m starting to feel like the world doesn’t want me in it. I’m constantly up against lies being told about me for clout and views… being the butt of the joke every single time because of how I look... my character being picked apart by people who don’t know me and disrespecting my name.”

She ended the post with: “I didn’t sign up for this – I QUIT.”

The singer's message came after her request to dismiss her upcoming sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit was denied by a judge in February. Since the first lawsuit, lawyers have reviewed more complaints from other backup dancers, and Lizzo was also named in a new lawsuit from a former hairstylist in September, which she further moved to dismiss.

Lizzo’s first lawsuit has now been ruled to go ahead in its entirety towards a trial.

The singer’s new announcement confirms what Ron Zambrano, the lawyer for the dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez, called a “joke”.

Zambrano reacted by saying that Lizzo’s previous quitting message was “just another outburst seeking attention and trying to deflect from her own failings as she continues to blame everyone else for the predicament she is in.”

He added: “Lizzo’s legal and public relations strategy is a failure, so she is desperately trying to play the victim.”

Can Lizzo’s reputation recover from the sexual harassment lawsuit?
Can Lizzo’s reputation recover from the sexual harassment lawsuit?AP Photo

This isn’t the first time that Lizzo has threatened to quit the industry, and her apparent retirement announcement also came in stark contrast to another recent Instagram post from 17 March, in which she talked about writing new music and thanked her fans for their patience.

“I’m writing some of the best music and I’m so excited for y’all to hear. I’m almost ready to be a normal human again … to be outside … to love and trust people … to try and make new friends … to sing and talk about my pain and joy,” Lizzo’s caption read. “Just give me a lil more time. Thank u for the patience, and to the ones who unfollowed, thank u too, cus now I know where we stand.”

So, to recap: She’s quitting; She’s called out for playing the victim card; She’s not quitting. That’s clear. 

What is less clear is whether Lizzo’s reputation can recover from the sexual harassment lawsuit - especially since the mounting accusations are in stark contrast to the singer’s tailored brand of “self-love” empowerment and years of body positivity advocacy.

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