Lizzo performs at Roskilde Festival 2023 on July 01, 2023 in Roskilde, Denmark.

Lizzo performs at Roskilde Festival 2023 on July 01, 2023 in Roskilde, Denmark.

Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage.

14 Lizzo Dancers Received Settlements for ‘Exploitative’ 2019 Rehearsal Footage

Lizzo doled out settlements to 14 dancers for footage that appeared in her 2022 documentary Love, Lizzo months before three former dancers filed a lawsuit against her.

Lizzo reportedly handed out settlements to 14 dancers regarding footage taken for her 2022 HBO Max documentary, Love, Lizzo. According to the Los Angeles Times, the dispute arose in January, when the dancers’ manager, Slay Smiles, called out the film’s discussion of weight-shaming, misogyny and racism, claiming that the footage’s use was unauthorized. Smiles said that the documentary “truly exploited these women and violated the emotional safety they had in those moments.”

In February, the dispute was settled with co-production company Boardwalk Pictures and a “Lizzo entity” after a dancer hired an attorney. The footage was shot in 2019 during rehearsals for the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, but Smiles claims that contracts weren’t offered to dancers at the time of recording. However, Alan Brunswick, an attorney for a Boardwalk Pictures co-producer says footage in the documentary “was captured openly” with dancers’ consent. “They all knew the cameras were there. I don’t think the documentary was even contemplated at that point,” he added.

Dancers were later notified that the footage would be used when a clearance producer emailed them, offering $350 in addition to a 10% agency fee. With advocating from Smiles, dancers received a $109,551 total payout, each getting between $7,092 and $7,545. Lizzo’s attorney, Martin Singer, says that the artist “had nothing to do with it and knew nothing about it.”

None of the dancers are involved with Lizzo’s current lawsuit, where three of her former dancers have accused the four-time Grammy-winner of sexual harassment, weight-shaming, disability discrimination and racial discrimination. Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Lizzo’s Big Grrl Big Touring production company, and her dance captain Shirlene Quigley. On Tuesday (August 22), reports surfaced that the three dancers, Crystal Williams, Noelle Rodriguez, and Arianna Davis, renewed their contracts to join Lizzo, born Melissa Jefferson, for a third leg of The Special Tour.

Jefferson also called the dancers’ allegations “false” in a statement denying their claims, followed by her remaining dancers posting a message of support for the “About Damn Time” singer.

While immersed in legal turmoil, Jefferson was spotted on Monday (August 21) outside a recording studio in Hollywood, where she told paparazzi that she was “good” and that fans could anticipate new music.