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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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Stars at Court

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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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How Festivals Support and Promote New Talent

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Film festivals play a crucial role in supporting and promoting new talent in the film industry. These events serve as launching pads for emerging filmmakers, providing them with exposure, networking opportunities, and recognition that can jumpstart their careers. Here’s how film festivals contribute to nurturing new talent:

Showcasing Emerging Filmmakers’ Work

Film festivals create dedicated platforms for showcasing the work of up-and-coming filmmakers. Many festivals have specific categories or sections focused on emerging talent, giving these artists a chance to present their films to audiences, critics, and industry professionals. This exposure is invaluable for new filmmakers who might otherwise struggle to find venues for their work.

Providing Networking Opportunities

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One of the most significant benefits of film festivals for new talent is the networking opportunities they offer. These events bring together filmmakers, producers, distributors, and other industry professionals, creating an environment ripe for making connections. For emerging artists, these interactions can lead to collaborations, mentorship opportunities, or even funding for future projects.

Offering Awards and Recognition

Many film festivals have awards specifically designed to recognize and encourage new talent. These accolades can range from “Best Emerging Filmmaker” to awards for best debut feature or short film. Winning or even being nominated for such awards can significantly boost a filmmaker’s credibility and visibility within the industry.

Facilitating Industry Connections

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Some festivals go beyond mere screenings and actively work to connect emerging filmmakers with industry professionals. They may organize pitch sessions, workshops, or one-on-one meetings with producers and distributors. These initiatives can help new talent navigate the complex world of film production and distribution.

Providing Educational Opportunities

Many film festivals incorporate educational components such as masterclasses, panel discussions, and workshops. These sessions, often led by established industry professionals, provide valuable insights and skills to emerging filmmakers, helping them refine their craft and understand the business side of filmmaking.

Creating a Supportive Community

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Film festivals foster a sense of community among filmmakers, especially those just starting their careers. This supportive environment allows new talent to share experiences, learn from peers, and find encouragement in their artistic pursuits.

Offering Financial Support

Some festivals go beyond recognition and actively provide financial support to emerging filmmakers. This can come in the form of cash prizes for competition winners, grants for future projects, or even production support for works-in-progress.

Providing a Platform for Diverse Voices

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Film festivals often prioritize diversity and inclusion, giving platforms to underrepresented voices in the film industry. This focus helps bring fresh perspectives and stories to the forefront, enriching the cinematic landscape.

Facilitating Distribution Opportunities

For many emerging filmmakers, getting their work seen beyond the festival circuit is a significant challenge. Film festivals can serve as a bridge to distribution, with many distributors attending festivals specifically to scout new talent and acquire promising films.

Building Audience Awareness

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Film festivals help build audience awareness for new filmmakers. By including their work in festival programs and promoting them alongside more established names, festivals introduce emerging talent to audiences who might not otherwise discover their films.

In conclusion, film festivals play a multifaceted role in supporting and promoting new talent. They provide visibility, networking opportunities, recognition, education, and sometimes even financial support to emerging filmmakers. By doing so, they not only help launch individual careers but also contribute to the ongoing vitality and diversity of the film industry as a whole.

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61% Say: Online Love Succeeds

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Recent studies have shed light on the changing perceptions of online dating, revealing that a majority of adults now believe relationships that begin online are just as successful as those that start in person. This shift in attitude reflects the growing acceptance and normalization of digital matchmaking in our increasingly connected world.

The rise of online dating platforms has revolutionized how people meet potential partners. With 37% of U.S. adults reporting having used an online dating site or app, these digital tools have become a significant part of the modern dating landscape. As more people turn to these platforms, the stigma once associated with online dating has steadily eroded.

Several factors contribute to this positive outlook on online relationships:

1. Increased exposure and familiarity: As more people use dating apps and sites, either personally or through friends and family, the concept becomes less foreign and more accepted.

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2. Success stories: Many long-term relationships and marriages that began online serve as testament to the potential of digital matchmaking.

3. Improved algorithms and user experience: Dating platforms have refined their matching processes, leading to more compatible connections.

4. Changing social norms: The digital age has normalized online interactions in many aspects of life, including romance.

Despite this optimistic view, it’s important to note that online dating isn’t without challenges. Safety concerns, misrepresentation, and the potential for harassment are issues that platforms and users continue to navigate. However, these challenges don’t seem to outweigh the perceived benefits for many users.

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Interestingly, the perception of online dating success varies somewhat across demographics. College-educated online daters, for instance, are more likely to report positive experiences (63%) compared to those with a high school diploma or less (47%). This suggests that factors such as education and digital literacy may influence one’s experience and outlook on online dating.

The belief in the potential success of online relationships is further supported by actual outcomes. About 42% of online dating users report having been in a committed relationship or married someone they met through a dating site or app. This statistic lends credence to the idea that online connections can indeed lead to meaningful, lasting relationships.

As online dating continues to evolve and integrate into mainstream culture, it’s likely that the perception of its efficacy will continue to improve. The key for users seems to be approaching online dating with realistic expectations, prioritizing safety, and recognizing that while the medium of introduction may be different, the fundamentals of building a strong relationship remain the same.

In conclusion, the growing belief that online relationships can be just as successful as traditional ones reflects a broader acceptance of digital tools in our personal lives. As technology continues to shape how we connect and interact, it’s clear that online dating has secured its place as a legitimate and potentially fruitful path to finding love and companionship in the modern age.

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Entertainment

The Hawk Tuah Phenomenon: How a 21-Second Video Sparked a Cultural Revolution

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In an age where internet fame is fleeting, one 21-second video has managed to captivate America and ignite a cultural firestorm. Meet Hailey Welch, the 21-year-old factory worker from rural Belfast, Tennessee, who became an overnight sensation as the “Hawk Tuah Girl.”It all started with a candid street interview where Welch, responding to a provocative question, used the onomatopoeic phrase “hawk tuah” to describe a suggestive act. Her animated delivery, thick Southern accent, and unabashed confidence turned what could have been a forgettable moment into a viral sensation.Within a week, the video exploded across social media platforms:
  • Over 8 million views on Instagram
  • Half a million views on TikTok
  • Countless memes and remixes created by users worldwide

But the “Hawk Tuah” phenomenon is more than just another viral video. It’s sparked intense debates about class, cultural perceptions, and the nature of authenticity in the digital age.Some view Welch as a symbol of working-class America finding its voice in the mainstream. Others see her sudden fame as a reflection of our culture’s obsession with shock value over substance. The phenomenon has even caught the attention of academics, who’ve coined terms like “onomatopic ricochet” to describe the concept.As the trend continues to evolve, it’s intersecting with various aspects of pop culture:

  • Country artist Zach Bryan has seen a resurgence in popularity alongside the trend
  • Merchandise featuring the “Hawk Tuah” phrase is selling out rapidly
  • There are rumors of potential Hollywood representation for Welch

The “Hawk Tuah” phenomenon raises important questions about our values, the content we celebrate, and the power of viral moments to shape cultural discourse. As we navigate this digital landscape, one thing is clear: in just 21 seconds, Hailey Welch has managed to capture the complexity of modern American culture, for better or worse.What do you think about the “Hawk Tuah” phenomenon? Is it a harmless bit of fun, or a sign of deeper cultural shifts? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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