Last Tuesday, Lizzo’s previously sterling reputation took a sharp nosedive after three of her former dancers sued her for sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment, weight shaming, and more. Within a day, several other former collaborators came forward with their own tales of Lizzo-assholery. On Thursday, the 35-year-old star took to social media to post a victim-blaming non-apology that made her look even worse. Then, a new low… Jameela Jamil defended her.
Things didn’t improve over the weekend. Unless you count a Grimes endorsement as a win. And, honestly, you shouldn’t. Yesterday the musician/wannabe-alien/ex of Elon Musk took to Twitter to defend Lizzo. Grimes tweeted that she’s “not saying I don’t believe ppl when bad things happen,” but “I had dancers mistreated on my watch in ways I didn’t find out about until way later.” She also claimed that “Lizzo was kind to me and others” for a decade “before she was ‘cool’”:
I love Lizzo. Not saying I don't believe ppl when bad things happen, but I had dancers mistreated on my watch in ways I didn't find out about until way later. Mebe shit is bad. But loyalty matters to me. Lizzo was kind to me and others for a decade before she was "cool", and…— 𝔊𝔯𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 (@Grimezsz) August 6, 2023
In another tweet, Grimes wrote about “restorative justice”, comparing Lizzo’s lawsuit to Chris Brown’s abuse of Rihanna:
Rihanna has supported chris brown in the aftermath cuz Rihanna seems to care about restorative justice. *assuming* Lizzo is guilty (without a trial - which flies in the face of democracy) - it's funny to me the same people who fight for restorative justice seem against it for…— 𝔊𝔯𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 (@Grimezsz) August 6, 2023
One Twitter user responded by accusing Grimes of invalidating abuse victims cuz she’s “friends with Lizzo.” Here’s Grimes’ response:
I see a society crumbling under the weight of human imperfection because people can't handle that we all fuck up, I see humans becoming pathetic shadows of themselves, fighting for a fragile acceptance by turning against their friends.— 𝔊𝔯𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 (@Grimezsz) August 6, 2023
On Saturday, the Hollywood Reporter published a piece about the future of Lizzo’s career. They spoke to a bunch of image experts and author Roxane Gay. Roxane criticized Lizzo’s terrible statement, but speculated that “the story may be a little more complicated than the media is portraying it as right now.” Former entertainment branding agent Nicole Winnaman defended Lizzo, saying she technically didn’t do “anything illegal.” She also theorized that those Amsterdam strip club accusations could be traced back to the singer’s own history of being body shamed:
“She’s a woman that has personally gone through a lot of body shaming in her life, and I think maybe she went in one direction that’s very over the top, but it’s where she sits. She wants people to be able to be naked, be nude, be loud, be proud and she doesn’t apologize for it,” she says.
“She doesn’t hide who she is or what she is,” adds Winnaman. “She’s very open about the way that she advocates for freedom of expression in all the things that she does.”
Huh. That’s one way to spin it. Another PR expert, Reputation Management Consultants chairman Eric Schiffer, compared Lizzo’s downfall to Ellen DeGeneres’:
“We saw this with Ellen DeGeneres when she was perceived to be the Queen of Nice, and yet stories continued to leak about how she treated people that worked for her and that goes to credibility. What occurs in these situations is there’s a credibility challenge and fans and audiences begin to wonder and question what’s real.”
Eric says he believes Lizzo’s career is “not done”, and “she’ll come back from this”: “I suspect in nine months to a year, this will be a small asterisk and the public will have forgotten.” Well, I’m the public, and I can never un-know that someone’s an asshole after they’ve been publicly exposed. And I really wish I could! See: those heartbreaking reports about the creators of The Other Two.
If Lizzo has any real chance of recovering from this mess, she’s gonna need some actually-credible celebrities to stand up and defend her. Unfortunately for her, it’s a statistical impossibility for the “Jameela Jamil, Grimes, _______” sequence to end on a non-problematic note. My money’s on Hilaria Baldwin.