After Lizzo’s three former dancers Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez banded together to file a complaint against the “About Damn Time” singer, Daniels is also suing the Houston native and her production company, Vanity Fair reported. Also listed in Daniels’ lawsuit are wardrobe manager Amanda Nomura and tour manager Carlina Gugliotta, who allegedly harassed and racially profiled Daniels while she worked on Lizzo’s tour. Daniels also claimed she was unfairly fired weeks after the tour started for being vocal about the work environment.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Daniels shared details of her short experience as a member of Lizzo’s team.
“I was really proud of them,” Daniels said. “I want a world where Black women can come and perform at the height of their career for their talent and not suffer these abuses and not be silenced and not be treated unfairly.”
The long hours didn’t leave much time for sleep. According to Daniels, she worked nearly 20-hour days. For her, this was part of the toxic and abusive style of the work culture of the 35-year-old’s team that was considered acceptable.
“My schedule was literally like 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. most days, but it really like just started to break down who I was as a person,” she said.
She said she became disappointed in light of Lizzo’s public persona as an advocate for body positivity, female empowerment and equality for everyone.
“I expected to be working with amazing women, a diverse group of people, people who were respectful because they knew that that’s what would be demanded on the tour,” she said.
Daniels described Nomura’s behavior as “controlling” and “mean.” She also claimed she didn’t want her to speak to Lizzo and anyone in the camp without her being made aware of it first: “She immediately told me, ‘Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t talk to management. You have to go through me to talk to anyone.’ She told me that I would not be interacting with Lizzo at all.”
“So, I said, ‘Well, why is that?'” Daniels continued. “And so she gave me a bevy of reasons, but the one that stuck out to me the most was that she said that Lizzo was jealous, and she told me that she had an instance with Lizzo where she was around Lizzo’s boyfriend and Lizzo got really jealous and upset with her.”
Daniels’ legal representation is attorney Ron Zambrano, the same lawyer for Davis, Williams and Rodriguez’ lawsuit. He explained how Lizzo being a part of the suit is only fair because she oversees the group of people she employs.
“It’s always the same theme. ‘I worked on it, it felt like hell. I left it, I never wanted to return.’ And at the end of the day, the person at the top of that pyramid is Lizzo, so what happens below her is her responsibility, right? Whether she likes it or not, it’s her responsibility,” Zambrano said.
The same day Lizzo was honored with the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award at the Black Music Action Coalition award ceremony is when Daniels filed her complaint. Lizzo’s spokesperson, Stefan Friedman, released a statement in response to the new claims.
“As Lizzo receives a Humanitarian Award tonight from the Black Music Action Coalition for the incredible charitable work she has done to lift up all people, an ambulance-chasing lawyer tries to sully this honor by recruiting someone to file a bogus, absurd publicity-stunt lawsuit who — wait for it — never actually met or even spoke with Lizzo,” Friedman told ABC News.
“We will pay this as much attention as it deserves. None,” it continued.
Despite Lizzo denying the accusations made by her dancers, along with the artist’s current dancers releasing a statement in her defense, as Blavity reported, and as well as Lizzo’s plans to countersue her former dancers, Daniels hopes the pop star can learn from these issues.
“I want these abuses of power to be acknowledged and corrected. I want to see her do better,” she said.