Aspiring artist Emaza Gibson claims multi-platinum singer Jason Derulo lured her into what seemed like a dream recording deal in 2021. He then pressured her to party, made “explicit” demands for sex, aggressively berated her to the point she dissolved in tears and finally ghosted her because she spurned his advances, a new lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles alleges.
Gibson says she’s now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Her complaint names reps for Derulo’s Future History record label, a joint venture with RCA Records, as well as Atlantic Records, another party to her contract, as co-defendants. She alleges they enabled the abusive behavior and did nothing when her deal was terminated without explanation on September 6th, 2022.
“I reached out for help, and I didn’t get that help. This has been scary the whole entire time. The aggressions, him charging toward me. I felt so unsafe, I had to get my parents involved,” Gibson, 25, says.
Reps for Derulo, RCA and Atlantic did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In the 30-page complaint obtained by Rolling Stone, Gibson alleges that Derulo first reached out to her in August 2021 and said he wanted to make her the centerpiece of a joint venture with Atlantic involving “multiple music albums.” She claims that during a recording session in November 2021, Derulo said that if she wanted to be successful in “this business,” she “would be required” to consent to sex and cocaine use.
“The manner and timing of such a statement meant that Derulo was demanding sexual acts from plaintiff in order for Derulo to fulfill his role as her mentor, supervisor and musical collaborator,” the lawsuit states. “This explicit demand for sex-in-exchange-for-success was reinforced through Derulo’s subsequent behavior.”
According to Gibson, Derulo repeatedly invited her to dinner and pressured her to drink. She says he stopped arranging rides for her when she pushed back. At a Nov. 18, 2021 meeting in New York to showcase her music in front of Atlantic executives, Derulo allegedly surprised her by leaving her alone in a room with another woman who indicated she was in a sexual relationship with the R&B artist.
Gibson says that when she asked Derulo why the woman was there, he exploded on her in an SUV, waving his arms in front of her and aggressively hitting his armrest. Gibson started bringing her mom to meetings with Derulo after that, the complaint states, and this allegedly upset Derulo.
During a recording session in June 2022, Derulo allegedly became enraged because she was late due to traffic. “Derulo immediately charged at plaintiff” in front of her mother, a videographer and an engineer, the filing says. Gibson alleges he “lunged” at her, causing her to believe she was about to be assaulted. She raced to the bathroom and cried, she says.
When Gibson’s mother later contacted Harris about the incident, he allegedly responded, “[Derulo] is his own man and … I’m not his master.”
Gibson says she reached out to an Atlantic executive on July 19, 2022, to discuss the “hostility” she allegedly endured in New York and Los Angeles. The executive purportedly “acknowledged” Derulo’s behavior and said, “The Atlantic team wants you to win, but I can’t say the same for Jason.”
She says her contract, which was to include a single with Derulo, was terminated. She’s now suing for quid-pro-quo sexual harassment, failure to prevent harassment, retaliation, intimidation and breach of contract. Gibson is seeking real and punitive damages to be determined at a trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
“This is super devastating for me. This is something I always wanted to do since I was a little girl. Jason was one of my favorite artists on the pop scene. I accept this amazing offer only to find out the person I looked up to would put me through such a traumatic situation,” Gibson tells Rolling Stone.
“She’s been working for this contract since she was in middle school. She gets a chance, and all of a sudden, it comes with strings attached,” Gibson’s lawyer Ronald Zambrano adds to Rolling Stone. “She’s traumatized, trying to cope with everything. It’s devastating for her. She wanted to record music based on things that were promised.”
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