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Lizzo’s Former Dancers Aren’t Backing Down in Lawsuit, Attorney Says on August 3, 2023 at 2:50 pm Us Weekly

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Three of Lizzo’s former backup dancers filed a workplace harassment lawsuit against the musician — and they are prepared to take their complaint to trial.

“We never know. Most cases do settle, but this is one I can easily see going to trial, because sometimes entertainers, whether it’s just denial or narcissism, they’re unwilling to accept that they maybe have done something wrong,” attorney Neama Rahmani exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, August 2. “So we’ll see [if] Lizzo comes out and denies all this and digs in [her] heels, then we’re gonna litigate this case and we’re gonna go to trial. Or does she come out and issue some sort of apology for how [she] and her management acted towards these women? Then, maybe there’s gonna be a resolution possible. The ball’s in Lizzo’s court now, and we’ll see what she and her lawyers do, and that’ll really determine whether this case gets litigated or tried.”

Us confirmed on Tuesday, August 1, that three of the 35-year-old Grammy winner’s backup dancers — Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez — filed a lawsuit against Lizzo after allegedly experiencing a hostile work environment, religious harassment, disability discrimination and sexual harassment. The trio are represented by Rahmani’s firm, West Coast Trial Lawyers.

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“For me, the most shocking allegations relate to the sexual harassment. You’re talking about sex shows and dildos and bananas and dildos and vaginas and bananas and vaginas. I mean, you have a male employee’s naked [and] he’s being whipped by a female performer who’s also naked,” Rahmani told Us of the complaint. “You have, one of our clients, Arianna, who’s forced to touch one of the new dancers. So this is just completely inappropriate in any workplace, but for Lizzo to essentially compel [her] employees to participate in this type of activity, it’s unlawful.”

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He added: “The reason sexual harassment laws exist is to protect employees because there’s such a disparity in power. So I can’t be a creepy boss and, for instance, ask one of my employees on a date because you know what? That employee may be compelled to say yes. You can’t say no to your boss because you’re worried about getting fired.”

Lizzo broke her silence on the lawsuit one day later, categorically denying the claims as  “false,” “unbelievable” and “too outrageous not to be addressed.”

“There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world,” Lizzo wrote via her Instagram on Thursday, August 3. “I know what it feels like to be body-shamed on a daily basis and would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight. I’m hurt but I will not let the good work I’ve done in the world be overshadowed by this.”

Rahmani told Us that how Lizzo addressed the allegations, which he expected to include a full denial, would impact his team’s legal strategy moving forward. After Lizzo released her statement on Thursday, Rahmani’s colleague attorney Ron Zambrano slammed her response.

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“Lizzo has failed her own brand and has let down her fans. Her denial of this reprehensible behavior only adds to our clients’ emotional distress,” Zambrano said in a Thursday statement. “The dismissive comments and utter lack of empathy are quite telling about her character and only serve to minimize the trauma she has caused the plaintiffs and other employees who have now come forward sharing their own negative experiences.”

Zambrano continued: “While Lizzo notes it was never her intention ‘to make anyone feel uncomfortable,’ that is exactly what she did to the point of demoralizing her dancers and flagrantly violating the law.”

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Rahmani further noted that the dancers are “devastated” that Lizzo’s on-camera persona is not the same behind the scenes. “They thought the Lizzo that you see on TV and the Lizzo that is on when the cameras are rolling would be the same Lizzo and would treat them fairly, but unfortunately it just wasn’t the case,” he noted on Wednesday.

While Davis, Williams and Rodriguez are upset about losing their “dream jobs” and allegedly experiencing traumatic events, Rahmani said they are “feeling better” now that other individuals have come forward with similar stories.

“There’s really strength in numbers and, you know, similar to the Me Too movement that really addressed rich and powerful men, those aren’t the only people that can harass or discriminate against young women, especially the young women of color who really were in a position where their boss was discriminating against their medical condition and forcing their religious beliefs on them,” Rahmani told Us. “There are racial issues and, of course, the sexual harassment. They are beyond devastated. They lost their job, something that was their dream job, and I’m really trying to pick the pieces up right now.”

Us Weekly has reached Lizzo for comment.

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With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

Three of Lizzo’s former backup dancers filed a workplace harassment lawsuit against the musician — and they are prepared to take their complaint to trial. “We never know. Most cases do settle, but this is one I can easily see going to trial, because sometimes entertainers, whether it’s just denial or narcissism, they’re unwilling to 

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Rosie Maddox: Rom-Com Wins with Best Screenplay!

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Get ready to applaud because Rosie Maddox, the creative genius behind “Wishing on Stars,” is making waves with her latest triumph as the winner of the Best Romantic Comedy Screenplay Award! Her captivating storytelling has earned her a well-deserved spotlight at the Houston Comedy Film Festival, where her heartwarming screenplay stole hearts and tickled funny bones.

From the bustling streets of Washington to the vibrant cityscape of Seattle, Rosie’s narrative prowess shines as she crafts a tale of serendipitous reunions and unexpected love. With “Wishing on Stars,” Rosie invites audiences on an enchanting journey of rediscovery, friendship, and the magic of second chances.

This isn’t just any rom-com—it’s a testament to Rosie’s innate ability to infuse depth and authenticity into her characters, making them leap off the page and into our hearts. As we eagerly await the cinematic adaptation of “Wishing on Stars,” Rosie continues to captivate audiences with her unique brand of storytelling, proving that she’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of film.

Join us in celebrating Rosie Maddox’s remarkable achievement and stay tuned for more updates as she continues to enchant us with her magical tales of laughter, love, and the endless possibilities of the human heart. Congratulations, Rosie—you’ve truly earned your place among the stars!

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Please feel free to check out on online store here.

 

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Shoutout to our sponsor Travis Whitbeck from Roots & Spores. Check out their instagram follow and support here.

Roots & Spores Coffee Owner Travis Whitbeck

From the Film Festival Circuit Founder, Mikal Fair:

“Explore the ‘Film Festival Submitter’s Handbook 2024,’ your ultimate guide to conquering the film festival circuit. Whether you’re a filmmaker or screenwriter, this essential resource provides practical strategies to navigate the competitive landscape of film festivals successfully. From crafting compelling titles, taglines, and synopses to creating impactful director’s and writer’s statements, this handbook equips you with the tools to shine in the festival circuit. Learn to develop effective marketing materials, including posters and trailers, and discover the importance of communication and presenting a professional package. With insights tailored to the evolving role of social media and marketing in the film industry, this handbook is your key to festival triumph. Get your copy now and embark on your journey to festival success!”

 

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“Changing Spots”: A Heartwarming Family Journey

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In “Changing Spots,” Lauren L. Owen masterfully weaves a heartwarming tale centered around Lizzie Jennings, a black anthropology student in her mid-30s, and her aging father, Walter. As Walter grapples with the challenges of living independently for the first time, Lizzie steps in to assist him, embarking on a dual mission to help her father become self-sustainable while documenting their progress for her thesis. Through candid interviews and her own camera footage, the story unfolds in a captivating mockumentary style, offering a glimpse into the tender moments and humorous mishaps that define their journey.

Owen, a trailblazing talent in the industry and the first Black or African American graduate of NYU’s MBA/MFA dual master’s degree program, brings her unique perspective to “Changing Spots.” With a remarkable background in producing, writing, and directing, including collaborations with acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee and notable projects like “BlacKkKlansman” and “See You Yesterday,” Owen’s work is deeply rooted in promoting diversity both on and off the screen. Through her storytelling, she celebrates the bond between black women and their fathers, shedding light on the often overlooked narratives that resonate with audiences on a profound level.

Fun fact: Lauren Owen is also an Associate Producer for the Netflix Original Film, “See You Yesterday,” further showcasing her versatility and impact in the industry.

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As Owen shares her personal connection to the story, drawing inspiration from her own experiences and her playful sense of humor inherited from her father, she invites viewers to embrace the complexities of familial relationships and the importance of staying connected despite life’s challenges. “Changing Spots” serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring power of love, laughter, and shared moments, resonating with audiences of all backgrounds and generations.

Moreover, Owen’s exceptional talent as a writer shines through as she clinched the prestigious Best Comedy Short Screenplay Award at the Houston Comedy Film Festival, further cementing her status as a rising star in the industry. This accolade not only recognizes Owen’s remarkable storytelling skills but also underscores the universal appeal and relatability of “Changing Spots.” As audiences continue to embrace this heartwarming tale, Owen’s win serves as a testament to the enduring impact of stories that celebrate the beauty of family bonds and the journey of self-discovery.

Please feel free to check out on online store here.

From the Film Festival Circuit Founder, Mikal Fair:

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Explore the ‘Film Festival Submitter’s Handbook 2024,’ your ultimate guide to conquering the film festival circuit. Whether you’re a filmmaker or screenwriter, this essential resource provides practical strategies to navigate the competitive landscape of film festivals successfully. From crafting compelling titles, taglines, and synopses to creating impactful director’s and writer’s statements, this handbook equips you with the tools to shine in the festival circuit. Learn to develop effective marketing materials, including posters and trailers, and discover the importance of communication and presenting a professional package. With insights tailored to the evolving role of social media and marketing in the film industry, this handbook is your key to festival triumph. Get your copy now and embark on your journey to festival success!

 

Shoutout to our sponsor Travis Whitbeck from Roots & Spores. Check out their instagram follow and support here.

Roots & Spores Coffee Owner Travis Whitbeck

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“A Messy Divorce” Named Finalist for Best Dark Comedy Film Award

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Award Winning Filmmaker, Phil Grishayev

Phil Grishayev, a talented filmmaker based in Los Angeles, is making waves in the comedy film scene with his uproarious short film, “A Messy Divorce.” Born and raised in Poland, Grishayev relocated to the United States in his early twenties, where his passion for storytelling and visual arts blossomed. Despite being relatively new to directing and producing, Grishayev’s creative vision and dedication have propelled him into the spotlight of the entertainment industry.

“A Messy Divorce” is not only Grishayev’s directorial debut but also a testament to his ability to breathe life into captivating narratives. The film, originally conceived as a screenplay by Grishayev’s friend Lenar Kamalov, follows the misadventures of a newly divorced couple who accidentally run over a man on the road and hilariously attempt to cover up their tracks. With its clever twists and comedic timing, “A Messy Divorce” has earned critical acclaim and audience praise alike.

Despite its humble beginnings, “A Messy Divorce” has already achieved notable success in the film festival circuit. Grishayev’s screenplay won a prestigious award at SWN, and the film was selected as an Official Entry at the Houston Comedy Festival in 2021. Now, as a finalist for the Best Dark Comedy Film Award at the esteemed Houston Comedy Film Festival, “A Messy Divorce” continues to captivate audiences with its unique blend of humor and wit.

Looking ahead, Grishayev has ambitious plans to expand “A Messy Divorce” into a full-length feature film, showcasing his commitment to storytelling and filmmaking. With his innovative approach and creative flair, Grishayev is poised to make a lasting impact on the comedy genre and beyond.

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As the anticipation builds for the Houston Comedy Film Festival, all eyes are on Phil Grishayev and “A Messy Divorce,” eagerly awaiting the announcement of the winners. In the meantime, audiences can experience the comedic brilliance of Grishayev’s work and witness the rise of a promising filmmaker in the entertainment industry.

He is an incredible Experiential Designer for major Paramount movie premiere sets with films apart of the Barbie franchise and Batman. Check him out here. grishayev.com

Award Winning Filmmaker, Phil Grishayev, and Hollywood Executive Producer and Houston Comedy Film Festival Director, Roselyn Omaka

From the Film Festival Circuit Founder, Mikal Fair:

Explore the ‘Film Festival Submitter’s Handbook 2024,’ your ultimate guide to conquering the film festival circuit. Whether you’re a filmmaker or screenwriter, this essential resource provides practical strategies to navigate the competitive landscape of film festivals successfully. From crafting compelling titles, taglines, and synopses to creating impactful director’s and writer’s statements, this handbook equips you with the tools to shine in the festival circuit. Learn to develop effective marketing materials, including posters and trailers, and discover the importance of communication and presenting a professional package. With insights tailored to the evolving role of social media and marketing in the film industry, this handbook is your key to festival triumph. Get your copy now and embark on your journey to festival success!

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