Singer Jason Derulo has been sued by a onetime musical protégé who alleges she was pressured to have sex with him, then fired when she refused.
Emaza Gibson alleges the “Trumpets” and “Whatcha Say” hitmaker signed her to his label, Future History, in 2021 with plans to make a mixtape and album.
Instead, Gibson’s lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleges Derulo used a Haitian phrase, “goat skin and fish scales,” that Gibson interpreted to mean Derulo demanded “sexual acts from Plaintiff” and made reference to doing cocaine.
“This explicit demand for sex-in-exchange-for-success was reinforced through DERULO’s subsequent behavior,” which included aggression, yelling and a lack of professional opportunities after Gibson rejected his advances, the lawsuit alleges.
Ron Zambrano, Gibson’s attorney, said in a news release that “Mr. Derulo’s behavior toward this young artist was despicable, and, unfortunately, another example of the music industry’s dark underbelly.”
“He not only broke promises and breached contracts, but his threats of physical harm and unconscionable sexual advances toward this young woman who is just trying to break into the industry were outrageous and illegal,” Zambrano said.
Other defendants in the lawsuit include Atlantic Records and RCA Records, which worked with Gibson and Future History.
“Executives knew of Derulo’s behavior without a care,” Zambrano added. “No one should have to suffer through such treatment by their employer, and in this case, by someone who preyed on the plaintiff’s vulnerabilities and desire to succeed, then just threw her away like garbage when he didn’t get his way.”
Derulo responded to the allegations on Friday through a video posted on Instagram.
“I wouldn’t normally comment but these claims are completely false and hurtful,” he said. “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. God bless.”
In an emailed statement, Zambrano criticized Derulo’s statement.
“If Derulo truly remained supportive of anyone following their dreams, he would acknowledge the pain and suffering he caused Emaza and aim to be a better person,” Zambrano said. “He should be offended by these allegations, as should everyone, including his fans. Emaza is certainly offended by his dismissive attitude. The entire music industry is due for a #MeToo movement. This sort of conduct is pervasive but it takes brave people like Emaza to come out of the shadows and share their stories to finally bring an end to this shameful behavior.”