Latina Lawyer Explains What Media Headlines Got Wrong About Lizzo’s Lawsuit
This month, publications have been reporting that Lizzo, along with her production company and her dance captain, was being sued. The three plaintiffs suing them cited how they were subjected to a hostile working environment and were fat-shamed.
News of the lawsuit was everywhere, quickly going viral on social media. Many stating the irony that the “Truth Hurts” singer has touted herself as a body positivity advocate. Since then, CNN has reported that six additional people will come on as possible plaintiffs.
Breaking down what’s happening with Lizzo
Having an idea of how this works, discrimination lawyer Janelle Romero, 28, decided to do a little digging. She pulled up the 40-page court filing and read it.
The New York Law School-graduated lawyer tells mitú, “I think, like most people who heard about the lawsuit, and I saw these fat-shaming headlines, I was really confused and I decided to look up the lawsuit myself. And when I read the claims, I was like, ‘You know, both things can be true.’”
Romero continues, “It can be true that the plaintiff felt that she was being criticized for her weight. But it could also be that Lizzo and the person that she was also in the meeting with were genuinely concerned for her. And I just didn’t think it was necessarily fair for her to be attacked for what she based her entire career on-on allegations that we don’t — I think most people don’t know the full story on if you just look at like what the headlines say.”
Romero then took to TikTok to share a breakdown of the lawsuit. The result? A five-video series where the Dominican American New York City labor lawyer gives a thorough analysis of the entire complaint.
Why it’s important to get the full story
Romero begins her series by saying that she “feels bad for Lizzo.” She also points out how the headlines “don’t match the story” told in the court document. She notes that you can question the facts without victim shaming or invalidating the experience of the plaintiffs.
“People are so quick to be like, ‘Oh, you’re victim shaming.’ And it’s not at all — it has nothing to do with the victim. It has to do with the whole story. You need a big picture. Even in lawsuits, there’s three sides to every story,” Romero explains.
She continues, “And so when you write the complaint or the plaintiff writes the complaint, they’re writing that story in the best way to express what they went through. It’s very [much] from their perspective because they can’t, you know, they can’t read someone’s mind and know exactly what in this case was in Lizzo’s mind. And then the defendants will have their answer, where they’ll also have their own perspective, and I’m sure it will be the complete opposite extreme.”
So, where’s the truth of it all? Romero explains that it’s somewhere in the middle.
“And there, somewhere in the middle, is usually the truth. I mean, some cases can be severe, but people are so afraid of the idea of victim shaming and, you know, believing victims, which we absolutely should do. But it’s possible to believe someone and also want the full story. You don’t need to be afraid of information just because you respect the person who gave it to you,” she asserts.
How to protect yourself
Romero’s advice for anyone who happens to find themselves in a similar situation as Lizzo’s former dancers? Document everything.
She explains that if you are being discriminated against, and the actions fall “under a protected characteristic,” to report it. The government has a document to help you figure out what falls under discrimination. Bowling Green State University also wrote a paper that details what qualifies as evidence.
“I think that you should give the employer the opportunity to remedy that first or to determine what’s going on. And if they don’t do anything, then you can kind of escalate [it] and do a little bit of research or speak to somebody who can explain — an attorney or any type of professional who can explain — to you sort of what your options are,” Romero concludes.
Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at email@example.com