Lizzo Settled Dispute With 14 Other Dancers Before Harassment Suit
Lizzo reportedly settled a dispute with 14 other dancers over using "intimate" footage that appeared in her 2022 HBO documentary, Love, Lizzo, without their permission.
Months before her former dancers sued her for harassment, discrimination, assault and false imprisonment, 14 of Lizzo's dancers were given a separate settlement relating to footage shot during rehearsal at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, which ended up appearing in the doc.
Slay Smiles, manager for the dancers, raised the dispute back in January, claiming an intimate discussion with the dancers about the effects of misogyny, weight-shaming, and racism in the industry was used without consent to the filming. The dancers also claim they were not compensated for their appearance in the documentary, which was co-produced by Lizzo.
“After seeing all of the videos, I’m sure you realize how sensitive and private the dialogue was for the talent involved,” Smiles wrote in an email viewed by the Los Angeles Times. “This was supposed to be a safe space to express and share with the Principal talent [Lizzo], so by sharing this unauthorized footage to the public without their approval/permissions, has truly exploited these women and violated the emotional safety they had in those moments.”
The report states that the dancers were working under a union contract for the VMAs, however, there was no contract for the non-union, behind-the-scenes footage that was used in the documentary.
Alan Brunswick, an attorney for Boardwalk Pictures, told the Times that the dancers were "captured openly" with their consent. He added, “They all knew the cameras were there. I don’t think the documentary was even contemplated at that point.”
Once lawyers became involved, the dancers were then offered confidential settlements, which they signed in February, releasing any rights to the footage and paying them for their appearance in the documentary.
Martin Singer, Lizzo's attorney, said that “Lizzo had nothing to do with it and knew nothing about it," and that the matter was resolved after the payment was made to clear any rights to use the footage.
Smiles admits to helping secure a payout to the dancers for a total of $109,551, which works out to between $7,092 and $7,545 each.
Lizzo is currently being sued by former dancers Arianna Davis, Noelle Rodriguez and Crystal Williams. Yesterday (August 22) it was reported that the three dancers had contractually committed to touring with Lizzo until the end of July. They claim they broke the agreement because "they finally had enough of the abuse."
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