Jason Derulo has been hit with a bombshell lawsuit that alleges sexual harassment and retaliation against his former protégé.
According to legal documents obtained by NBC News, 25-year-old Emaza Gibson is accusing the R&B singer of dropping her record deal after she repeatedly rejected his sexual advances. Gibson is acusing Derulo of quid pro quo sexual harassment. The aspiring artist said she met Derulo in August 2021, when she was part of a small girl group called Ceraadi. Shortly after the musical act disbanded, Jason allegedly reached out to Gibson and offered her a deal with his imprint, Future History, and its parent company, Atlantic Records.
Gibson said that as part of the contract, she was reportedly required to create a mixtape in four months and a full-length album in six. She was also allegedly required to feature Derulo on at least one of her singles. The singer said the offer was a “no-brainer,” and immediately began working with Derulo.
‘’I’m like, OK, well, Jason is a great artist — big, international, powered with Atlantic — this should be a no-brainer, and I should be able to, you know, start my solo career,” she told the outlet.
The plaintiff claims that soon into signing the deal, Derulo would consistently invite her to private lounges and would pressure her to drink during recording sessions. She said she typically declined those invitations for two big reasons: 1) She wanted to keep their relationship professional, and 2) she didn’t want alcohol to affect her performance in the studio.
In September 2021, Gibson allegedly agreed to drink with Derulo during a recording session and was given “inappropriately large amounts of alcohol."
“I told him that I wasn’t a drinker … so it’s like, you know, you’re not listening to that the first time I tell you, and you’re still pushing on me,” Gibson told NBC News. “It’s, like, pressure at this point.”
The woman claimed Derulo had told her she might have to participate in “goat skin and fish scales,” which was an apparent reference to cocaine use and a sexual act. Gibson took this as an “explicit demand for sex-in-exchange-for-success.”
Fast-forward to November 2021, when Gibson traveled to New York City with the hopes of finalizing her deal with Atlantic; but just “minutes before the meeting” with label executives, Derulo introduced Gibson to another aspiring artist named, Rosa. According to the lawsuit, Rosa told Gibson she was tagging along because Derulo was on “some fuck shit,” suggesting she was in a sexual relationship with the “Swalla” artist.
Gibson said she was convinced that Derulo was using Rosa as an example, highlighting the ways Rosa’s career was progressing because she was sleeping with him: “So I noted that, as well, because, OK, she’s advancing.”
The plaintiff said she mentioned Rosa’s attendance to Derulo’s manager, which allegedly caused Derulo to become angry and violent. She said he exhibited similar behavior in June 2022, when she arrived late to a recording session. According to the complaint, Derulo allegedly charged Gibson while her mom and other staffers were present. Gibson said Derulo continued to berate her until he “realized the aggressive manner in which he invaded Plaintiff’s personal space and the inappropriate volume of his voice.”
“I had to step back … my hand just clutched my chest, because I was, like, I’ve, I’ve never been approached this way by anybody,” she said.
Gibson claimed she and her team had tried reaching out to Derulo, his camp, and Atlantic’s human resources department, but was essentially ghosted. In September 2022, Gibson’s deal with the imprints had been terminated.
“I have anxiety; I’m traumatized,” Gibson continued. “I’ve dealt with inhumane work situations. … I’m at this point where I’m back to zero and I have nothing… Im just trying to fight for what’s right, because what was done to me was not OK.
In addition to retaliation and sexual harassment, Gibson is suing Derulo for intimidation and breach of contract. She is seeking compensation for unpaid wages and loss of earnings as well as damages for emotional distress.
“I wouldn’t want anybody else to go through what I went through. They wasted my time. They promised me things,” she continued. “‘Forget the contract.’ That’s what I was told. But if I wasn’t going to do, if I wasn’t doing my part according to this contract, I would be in trouble. I would be held accountable.”