I didn’t sign up for this shit — I QUIT.”

That line concluded an emotional virtual blurb from Lizzo, the American pop phenomenon, who seemingly quit the entertainment industry in an Instagram post on March 29. The “Truth Hurts” singer said she is tired of being “dragged” for her appearance and having “lies” spread on her name. 

The artist followed up with a video post clarifying that she is not quitting music — as many assumed — but rather abstaining from “giving any negative energy attention.” But the original post sparked a slew of online conversation about recent public treatment of Lizzo.

A Grammy-winning singer and flutist, Lizzo garnered mainstream success in 2019 with the release of her album Cuz I Love You. Chart toppers such as “Juice” and “Good as Hell” elevated her stardom and professional accolades, which include numerous People’s Choice Awards, MTV Video Music awards and a Time Magazine Entertainer of the Year award in 2019. 

The discourse surrounding Lizzo during her time as a public figure has been tumultuous. The artist has branded herself as promoting body positivity, self-love and female empowerment. But a lawsuit filed against her and her touring agency, Big Grrrl Big Touring Inc, in August by three of her former backup dancers damaged that public-facing image.

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The lawsuit included allegations of sexual harassment, racial and religious discrimination and a hostile work environment.

Lizzo and her team have adamantly denied the allegations and made legal efforts to dismiss the case, but the claims have contributed to her fall from public grace. Formerly considered by many as the poster child for body positivity, she would constantly and publicly advocate for people of all shapes and sizes to feel confident in their bodies. A 2020 Instagram post of hers is captioned “Go look in the mirror. That body *is* your summer body,” and has more than 2 million views. Her discography is littered with lyrics about self-love. 

The lawsuit spun Lizzo’s public persona on its head, as allegations of weight-shaming and demeaning comments led many to brand her a hypocrite. 

Lizzo attributed her departure from entertainment to internet toxicity and body-shaming in her Instagram post. Despite her current controversies, the body-shaming Lizzo has experienced throughout the entirety of her career in the public domain should not be discounted. 

Discourse regarding her body and accusations of promoting obesity were popular comments years before the lawsuit was filed. Kanye West made an infamous statement to Tucker Carlson in 2022 branding Lizzo’s supposed championing of her weight as “demonic.” A quick scroll through her Instagram comment section unveils hateful messages exclusively about her body. 

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Under the guise of denouncing obesity, many online spectators have become comfortable speaking on Lizzo’s health. She responded to commentators in a 2020 TikTok video showing her doing various exercises, proclaiming that she is “not working out to have your ideal body type,” and has never shied away from revealing outfits or risque social media posts. 

Lizzo has been routinely scrutinized and used as the butt of fatphobic jokes for years. While it’s important to not discount the allegations against her, the taunting she has experienced during her career because of her appearance should not be overlooked.