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‘Arrogant, Self-Centered, and Unkind’: Filmmaker Details Alleged Experiences With Lizzo in 2019

Sophia Nahli Allison said she was supposed to direct a documentary about the pop singer, but left the job after about two weeks


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Sophia Nahli Allison, a filmmaker who said she worked with Lizzo several years ago, said she was “treated with such disrespect” by the pop star that she left the job after only about two weeks.

Allison shared her claims on social media Tuesday night, not long after news broke that three of Lizzo’s former dancers had sued the singer over sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. The claims in the lawsuit stem from incidents that allegedly took place between 2021 and 2023, while Allison said she worked with Lizzo in 2019.

In her post, Allison said she spent some time traveling with Lizzo “to be the director of her documentary.” She said she left “after about 2 weeks,” citing the musician’s allegedly disrespectful behavior: “I witnessed how arrogant, self-centered, and unkind she is,” Allison wrote. “I was not protected and was thrown into a shitty situation with little support. My spirit said to run as fast as you fucking can and I’m so grateful I trusted my gut.”

Allison went on to say she “felt gaslit” and “deeply hurt” by the experience, though she had “healed” over the years. Reading the claims brought by Lizzo’s dancers, however, made Allison realize “how dangerous of a situation it was. This kind of abuse of power happens far too often.”

In a follow-up message, Allison said that after her initial post, she heard from others who had “very similar experiences,” while also getting affirmation from “people who witnessed what I went through.”

She continued: “Lizzo creates an extremely toxic and hostile working environment and undermines thew work, labor, and authority of other black and brown womxn in the process. (Notice how the documentary ended up being directed by a cis white man.)” (Allison is ostensibly referring to 2022’s Love, Lizzo, directed by Doug Pray.)

Allison went on to call Lizzo “a narcissistic bully” who has “built her brand off of lies.” “I was excited to support and protect a Black woman through the documentary process but quickly learned her image and ‘message’ was a curated facade. I stand with the dancers and anyone who has had similar experiences working with her and her team. These working conditions are not ok.”

A rep for Lizzo did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.

Along with Allison’s claims, some have suggested that Beyoncé actively snubbed Lizzo during her concert in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Tuesday night. Lizzo is one of several prominent Black female musicians Beyoncé shouts out in the “Break My Soul (Queens Remix),” but video of last night’s rendition seems to show Beyoncé skipping Lizzo’s name and repeating Erykah Badu’s several times instead. Lizzo’s name did, however, still appear on a screen behind Bey.

(A rep for Beyoncé did not immediately return a request for comment. It’s also worth noting that during a performance of the same song at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, over the weekend — before the allegations dropped — Beyoncé “omitted” Lizzo’s name when she happened to take a quick breather at that point in the roll call.)

Lizzo has yet to respond to the allegations brought against her Tuesday. The claims were brought by Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis, and Noelle Rodriguez, who performed with Lizzo during “The Special Tour.” Lizzo’s production company, as well as Shirlene Quigley, the captain of Lizzo’s dance team, are also named as defendants.

This story was updated 8/2/23 @ 3:50 p.m. with an additional statement from Sophia Nahli Allison.

From Rolling Stone US