LOS ANGELES - Pop star Jason Derulo responded Friday to a lawsuit filed by aspiring singer Emaza Gibson, calling the claims "defamatory," that alleged he signed her to his record company then later threatened and fired her after she resisted his sexual advances.
In her lawsuit filed Thursday, Oct. 5 in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Gibson claimed that Derulo hired her in 2021 and "promised to make multiple music albums" with her as part of a joint venture with Atlantic Records and his label, Future History.
"I wouldn't normally comment but these claims are completely false and hurtful," Derulo said in an Instagram post Friday. "I stand against all forms of harassment and I remain supportive of anybody following their dreams. I've always strived to live my life in a positively impactful way, and that's why I sit here before you deeply offended by these defamatory claims."
According to Gibson's lawsuit, Derulo allegedly told Gibson that if she wanted to be successful in "this business," she would have to partake in "goat skin and fish scales," a Haitian term referring to conducting sex rituals, sacrificing a goat and using cocaine.
In the lawsuit, Gibson alleged that "the timing" of Derulo's comment led her to believe that he was "demanding sexual acts" from her, and that "this explicit demand for sex-in-exchange-for-success was reinforced through Derulo's subsequent behavior."
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13: Jason Derulo attends the 2019 Global Citizen Prize at the Royal Albert Hall on December 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Global Citizen)
Following this incident, Derulo allegedly began regularly inviting Gibson to dinner and drinks, requests she declined in an effort to keep their relationship professional, according to the lawsuit.
She eventually insisted that her mother, who was also her manager, be present during all future meetings and recording sessions, after which Derulo allegedly became angry and stopped responding to her text messages, according to the suit.
Gibson was ultimately fired in September 2022, the suit states, and she never received a response from Atlantic executives regarding her allegations of "sexually, emotionally and physically inappropriate behavior."
The suit also contends that Gibson suffered breakdowns, weight loss, mood swings, hopelessness, loss of motivation and feelings of betrayal and deception and had to seek mental health treatment, leading to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Mr. Derulo's behavior toward this young artist was despicable, and, unfortunately, another example of the music industry's dark underbelly," said Gibson's attorney Ron Zambrano. "Executives knew of Derulo's behavior without a care. No one should have to suffer through such treatment by their employer…"
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.