Lizzo's legal struggles continue as judges denies request to toss lawsuit

Los Angeles, California - The explosive lawsuit filed against Lizzo is set to continue after a California judge ruled that the singer's argument for dismissal didn't apply to all allegations made by her former back-up dancers.

Lizzo's legal battles are set to continue as the judge denies her request to dismiss the suit against her.
Lizzo's legal battles are set to continue as the judge denies her request to dismiss the suit against her.  © Collage: Screenshots/Instagram/ Lizzo

Judge Mark H. Epstein denied Lizzo's motion to have the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against her thrown out under the anti-SLAPP statute on Friday.

However, in his 34-page decision, Judge Epstein did toss some of the plaintiff's accusations against the Grammy winner and her team.

In their filing, Lizzo's lawyers argued the accusers were using the lawsuit to silence her. They argued the case should be rejected under California's anti-SLAPP statute, which is often used by defendants looking to dismiss meritless suits that threaten their right to free speech.

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While Epstein largely disagreed with this argument, he did dismiss some allegations, including the sexual harassment accusation involving a nude photoshoot on the set of the singer's reality competition show Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls. This, he determined, was protected under the anti-SLAPP statute as part of the "creative process," per NBC News.

"This case presents a number of difficult issues," Epstein wrote in his decision. "And the courts are rightfully wary of injecting themselves into the creative process."

"It is dangerous for the court to weigh in, ham-fisted, into constitutionally protected activity, 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," the judge added.

The legal case against Lizzo is set to proceed, but some allegations were dismissed.
The legal case against Lizzo is set to proceed, but some allegations were dismissed.  © Collage: Screenshot/Instagram/Lizzo

A spokesperson for Lizzo, Stefan Friedman, said in a statement that her legal team is "pleased" Judge Epstein chose to toss "all or part of four of the plaintiffs' causes of action."

"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," Friedman said.

Epstein also dismissed the disability discrimination allegation that Lizzo fat-shamed one of her dancers, Arianna Davis.

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Additionally, he tossed the allegation that the Juice singer's team intentionally interfered with the dancers' career prospects by putting them on a "soft hold."

The plaintiff's lawyer, Ron Zambrano, was also very satisfied with the ruling, saying in a statement that despite some actions being tossed, "We absolutely consider it a victory on balance."

Zambrano continued, "All the other claims remain, including sexual, religious, and racial discrimination, sexual harassment, the demeaning visits to the Bananenbar in Amsterdam and Crazy Horse in Paris, false imprisonment, and assault."

He added, "The ruling also rightfully signals that Lizzo – or any celebrity – is not insulated from this sort of reprehensible conduct merely because she is famous. We now look forward to conducting discovery and preparing the case for trial."

Lizzo has denied the allegations against her as "unbelievable" and "outrageous." In his statement, Friedman said the legal battle will continue: "We plan to appeal all elements that the judge chose to keep in the lawsuit and are confident we will prevail."

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshots/Instagram/ Lizzo

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