According to the lawsuit, Nomura also appeared to have threatened employees. At one point, she used an insult and said she would “kill” anyone who threatened her job, the lawsuit says.
After Daniels complained to Gugliotta, Lizzo’s tour manager, she allegedly asked Daniels to secretly record Nomura, the lawsuit says.
Daniels declined, believing it was unethical and possibly illegal, and continued to work for Lizzo, according to the lawsuit.
Sexually charged discomfort
As they traveled to Amsterdam, she overheard managers discussing hiring sex workers to perform lewd sexual acts, attending sex shows and purchasing hard drugs, the lawsuit says.
Daniels said she did not attend the events. The lawsuit, filed last month on behalf of three former dancers, describes one of those dancers’ visit to an Amsterdam strip club, the Bananaenbar, and accuses Lizzo Encouraging the performers to engage with the performers and pressuring the dancer to touch one of them.
According to the lawsuit, the dancer repeatedly refused, but relented after Lizzo allegedly led a chant that encouraged her to do so.
Daniels’ lawsuit also alleged that a manager texted a sexually graphic image to more than two dozen people.
“No one on LIZZO’s management team adequately addressed these graphic sexual images in the workplace,” the lawsuit says.
In February, Daniels told tour manager Gugliotta about what the lawsuit described as “widespread racial and sexual harassment” that occurred on tour. She was fired weeks later, on March 6, the same day she said Nomura scolded her for taking a break after an allergic reaction, the lawsuit says.
Daniels told NBC News that she found out about her termination via a plane ticket in her email.
The tour manager later told Daniels that “everyone” knew Nomura was “crazy” and apologized several times but said it was too difficult to replace Nomura, the lawsuit says. The manager told Daniels that Nomura wanted her to “go away” because she spoke out, the lawsuit says.
Although Daniels became increasingly desperate about her working conditions, she said, she was stunned by her firing. She was committed to maintaining her relationships with the dancers and others who she said were not receiving the support they deserved.
The shot was particularly impressive, Daniels added, because she said Gugliotta had nothing but praise for her designs.
Afterward, Daniels said, the manager asked if she would continue to do design work for the dancers — an offer Daniels accepted because of her relationships with the performers and because she didn’t want them to wear leotards purchased en masse online, an “”Extremely disrespectful,” Daniels said, which had been given to them earlier.
While working for Lizzo and in the months that followed, Daniels suffered from ongoing physical and psychological problems, including anxiety and vision problems, according to the lawsuit. She said she had previously considered suing Lizzo over what she said was the most toxic work environment she had ever experienced, but didn’t come forward until she learned of the lawsuit last month.
“Not only do they deserve me to stand up for them, but I deserve to stand up for myself,” she said. “25-year-old Asha deserves someone to stand up for her.”
Daniels’ appeal to Lizzo and her managers is now to take the performers’ values of love and support seriously.
“Black women deserve to work in places where we feel safe, where we are not harassed, where we are not sexualized,” she said. “We can just be great, work hard and be treated” in a way that everyone else can be treated.