Lizzo and her dance team captain, Shirlene Quigley are at the center of a lawsuit filed by three of the singer’s former dancers. The lawsuit accuses the Grammy Award-winning singer of sexual harassment and claims she allowed a “hostile work environment” to run rampant under the control of Quigley’s oppressive religious agenda.
The lawsuit — which was filed on August 1 and reported by NBC — claims Lizzo pressured her dancers to touch nude performers at a strip club in Amsterdam against their will. They claim Lizzo and members of her team ridiculed them until they acquiesced, ultimately forcing them to participate.
Quigley is accused of proselytizing members of the dance team, and degrading those who don’t follow a Christian lifestyle as she does. According to the suit, one of the dancers, Arianna Davis, accused Quigley of ignoring requests to stop talking about her virginity on social media and in public interviews, and when asked to quit pressuring her about her faith, replied, “No job and no one will stop me from talking about the Lord.”
Although she might not be a household name like Lizzo, Quigley’s dance background has seen her partnering with countless celebrities in the past, including Beyoncé. Here’s what to know about the controversial dance captain.
Who is Shirline Quigley?
Before joining Lizzo’s team in 2019, Shirline Quigley — who became a professional dancer at 18 years old — was making a name for herself as one of the most sought-after dancers in the industry. Her resume includes working with names such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Missy Elliot, Jamie Foxx, Chris Brown, Destiny’s Child, Mary J. Blige, and more. She is one of Beyoncé’s original “uhh ohh girls” from the “Crazy In Love” music video.
Quigley is a teacher at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. She has performed at the Grammys, the VMA’s, the Teen Choice Awards, the BET Awards, and more. In 2021, she became a judge on Lizzo’s reality TV show Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, in which a group of contestants compete to join Lizzo’s dance team, of which Quigley was captain. Two of the dancers who filed the lawsuit against Lizzo and Quigley are former contestants of the show.
Quigley is a vocal believer in Christianity and is often found promoting the word of Jesus Christ on social media. According to her website, her mission is to “use the gifts God has given her to inspire, motivate, and build other great leaders within her industry and atmosphere.” Quigley often refers to those who don’t believe in God or Christianity as “nonbelievers.”
In the video shown above from July 2022, Quigley briefly discussed her time working on Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls and mentioned Arianna Davis as one of her favorite contestants. Quigley commented on the great deal of respect she had for Davis when the dancer turned down a nude photoshoot as part of one of the show’s challenges. “Arianna is part of our tribe,” she said. A year later, Davis would go on to directly name Quigley in the sexual harassment and hostile work environment lawsuit.
In 2016, Quigley was reported missing. Singers Rihanna and Missy Elliot put the word out on social media, begging fans to report any information they had regarding her whereabouts. Not long after, the North Bergen Police Department reported Quigley to be safe and receiving treatment in an undisclosed location.
Neither Quigley nor Lizzo has commented on the lawsuit or the accusations of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.