Lizzo said she was joking. The full quote read, “If I could collaborate with BTS, that sounds fun. I don't know if I can make it through the studio session without having sex with all of them. I'm just kidding, god, that was a terrible thing to say, I'm sorry mom.”
In August 2023, three dancers filed a lawsuit against Lizzo, their former employer, accusing her of creating a hostile work environment and exposing them "to an overtly sexual atmosphere" during their employment. She denied the allegations, saying the lawsuit was making her out to be someone she's not.
Nonetheless, the controversy inspired online posts featuring old statements about sex and sexuality by the singer, supposedly in an attempt to lend credibility to the former dancers' claims.
For example, one Twitter user claimed they were not shocked by the allegations because Lizzo — whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson — had "disgustingly talked abt wanting [sic] to have sex with the tannies back in 2021." (Tannies is a fan-made nickname for members of the all-male, Korean pop music group, BTS.)
The news about Lizzo dont shock me cuz she literally disgustingly talked abt wantin to have s€x with the tannies back in 2021? just like that- like wtf pic.twitter.com/q9FKQUL7uV
— Ju?#1 ON BB HOT 100 (@jiminbyheart) August 2, 2023
It was true that, in a 2019 appearance on Canadian radio network CBC Music, she was asked if she would collaborate with BTS and said, "I don't know if I can make it through the studio session without having sex with all of them." However, immediately after the statement, she said she was joking, and that "was a terrible thing to say."
CBC Music published a video of the appearance, titled "Lizzo listens to BTS for the first time," in August 2019. The clip showed Lizzo enjoying and praising BTS's music, and was edited to show her response to an off-camera question about whether she would like to work with them.
The full quote read, "If I could collaborate with BTS, that sounds fun. I don't know if I can make it through the studio session without having sex with all of them. I'm just kidding, god, that was a terrible thing to say, I'm sorry mom."
She said the in-question statement at the beginning of the video:
The remainder of the video showed Lizzo listening to BTS's songs and praising the group's music with language that is suggestive, or sexual, in nature. At the end of the video, she described the music as "sexual" — saying she's about to "get pregnant."
That said, while the in-question quote was real, it was not evidence to substantiate claims outlined in the August 2023 lawsuit against Lizzo.
In an Aug. 3, 2023, Instagram post responding to the lawsuit, Lizzo said, while "I am very open with my sexuality and expressing myself," the allegations by former dancers were false. The full statement read:
These last few days have been gut-wrenchingly difficult and overwhelmingly disappointing. My work ethic, morals, and respectfulness have been questioned. My character has been criticized. Usually I chose not to respond to false allegations but these are as unbelievable as they sound and too outrageous to not be addressed.
The sensationalized stories are coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted they were told their behavior on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional."
As an artist, I have always been very passionate about what I do. I take my music and my performances seriously because at the end of the day, I only want to put out the best art that represents me and my fans. With passion comes hard work and high standards. Sometimes I have to make hard decisions but it's never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable or like they aren't valued as an important part of the team.
I am not here to be looked at as a victim, but I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days. I am very open with my sexuality and expressing myself but I cannot accept or allow people to use that openness to make me out to be something I am not. There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world. I know what it feels like to be body shamed on a daily basis and would absolutely never criticize or terminate an employee because of their weight.
I'm hurt but I will not let the good work I've done in the world be overshadowed by this. I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support to lift me up during this difficult time.