Jason Derulo has been sued by an artist he was courting to work with his Future History label.
Emaza Gibson filed the suit earlier Thursday in Los Angeles, alleging quid pro quo sexual harassment, breach of contract and intimidation and violence in violation of the Ralph Civil Rights Act, among other complaints. She lists Derulo, manager Frank Harris, Atlantic Records, RCA Records and Future History, a joint venture with RCA.
Atlantic, RCA, Harris and Derulo’s attorneys either did not respond to inquiries or provided no comment. One source says that RCA has no knowledge of what this suit is about, and that there is no current contractual relationship with Derulo or Future History, nor during the period that Gibson’s claims cover.
A rep for Derulo shared a statement on his behalf with People, denying the allegations. “These claims are completely false and hurtful,” the statement reads. “I stand against all forms of harassment and remain committed to supporting people chasing their dreams. I strive to live my life in a positively-impacting way, so I am deeply offended by these defamatory allegations.”
The suit outlines a timeline of alleged behavior from Derulo that included coercion and bursts of anger. It contends that Derulo initially contacted Gibson in August 2021 to sign to Future History in a partnership with Atlantic, where he’s currently signed. He claimed that in order for the venture to be launched, he would have to provide Atlantic with a new artist, and promised to make numerous albums with her in exchange.
Gibson says that she was promised a budget to fund a mixtape to Atlantic within four months, and would record a single to feature Derulo. In November 2021, Derulo and Gibson began recording her album under Future History. She alleges that Derulo said that in order to be successful in the music industry, she would have to partake in “goat skin and fish scales,” a Haitian reference to “conducting sex rituals, sacrificing a goat, goat blood and doing cocaine.” The suit explains that she interpreted this as a demand for sex in exchange for success.
Around this time, Gibson says that Derulo began inviting her for dinner and drinks with him, but she declined out of respect to their professional relationship. He allegedly pressured her to drink with him during late night recording sessions, promising to pay for her Uber rides home, despite her explaining that she’s not a drinker. Eventually, she says, she gave in during a September 2021 recording session. The suit explains that the “drink was too strong” and she refused to drink any more of it. After she declined the beverage and declined to have sex with Derulo, he pulled the offer to provide her with transportation to and from the studio, she said.
Two months later, Gibson and Derulo took a meeting at Atlantic to discuss her career. Right before the meeting, she was left alone with another female artist named Rosa whom Derulo invited to the meeting. Rosa told Gibson that Derulo was trying to be “on some fuck shit,” implying that he was trying to have sex with her. The suit claims that this reinforced her concerns about his behavior and that she would only succeed if she slept with him. Shortly after the meeting, he supposedly became irate in an SUV with Gibson after she said she felt caught off-guard that another female artist was invited to the meeting. She claims that he began hitting his armrests and screaming that Rosa had nothing to do with her, and that her presence at the meeting was none of her business.
Soon after, Gibson asked her mother and manager, Sandra Bales, to be present for any meetings or sessions with Derulo “out of concern for her own safety.” Derulo and Harris stopped responding to her messages until June 2022, when Derulo agreed to meet with her at his Malibu home. She continued to record using her own resources to fulfill obligations, and asked Derulo to purchase the recordings so they didn’t go to other artists. He allegedly responded, “If we lose them, I can always get new records.”
They agreed to hold a recording session five days later, and Gibson and her mother arrived an hour late due to traffic. When they got to the studio, Derulo was enraged by her tardiness and charged at her, screaming in her face, “I don’t know who you think you are! You’re supposed to be here before me! You need to plan better!” He then calmed down and tried to hug her, but Gibson fled to the bathroom and cried. The next day, she complained to Harris, who responded, “[Derulo] is his own man and […] I’m not his master.”
In July, she contacted Atlantic about her experiences with Derulo, though her concerns were dismissed. Then, in September, she was informed her partnership with Atlantic and Future History had been terminated. The suit goes on to say that follow-up queries to Atlantic were ignored.
“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 told Rolling Stone. She claims that she’s now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“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,” added her lawyer, Ronald Zambrano. “She’s traumatized, trying to cope with everything. It’s devastating for her. She wanted to record music based on things that were promised.”
Gibson is suing for general, special and punitive damages, as well as prejudgement interest on lost wages and benefits and attorney fees.