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Jason Derulo Sued For Sexual Harassment of Aspiring Female Singer

Jason Derulo Sued For Sexual Harassment of Aspiring Female Singer

Jason Derulo
Jaguar PS/Shutterstock

An aspiring singer signed to his label alleges abuse from the "Watcha Say" singer.

Pop and R&B star Jason Derulo is being sued by aspiring singer Emaza Gibson for quid pro quo sexual harassment, intimidation, and breach of contract after Derulo allegedly offered to advance the up-and-comer’s career in exchange for sexual favors.

"I’m at this point in my life right now, it’s very heartbreaking,” Gibson told NBC News in an interview Wednesday. “I have anxiety. I’m traumatized. I’ve dealt with inhumane work situations. I’m at this point where I’m back to zero and I have nothing.”

In the lawsuit filed on Thursday, October 5 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Gibson claims Derulo dropped her from his Atlantic Records affiliated label, Future History, after she turned down his sexual advances.

Derulo responded to the allegations against him in a video he posted to his Instagram account. "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."

Gibson, 25, who has amassed more than 1.25 million subscribers on YouTube, claims in the lawsuit that Derulo pressured her to drink and dine with him, but she refused in an attempt to keep things professional between them.

The suit says that in 2021 Gibson—whose stage name is Emaza Dilan—agreed to have a drink with the “Whatcha Say” singer, but was given “inappropriately large amounts of alcohol,” that she tasted and told Derulo it was too strong.

"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 explained in the interview. “It’s, like, pressure at this point.”

The suit alleges that Derulo also made a comment about her having to participate in “goat skin and fish scales,” which Gibson claims was a reference to “rituals involving sex, goat sacrifices, and blood” and that she took that to be an “explicit demand for sex-in-exchange-for-success.”

In a statement shared with NBC News, Gibson’s attorney, Ron Zambrano said, “[Derulo’s] 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.”

Gibson is seeking unpaid wages, loss of earnings, deferred compensation, and other employment benefits, as well as damages for emotional distress in the lawsuit against Derulo, his imprint, and Atlantic Records.

"How could you be a person and do this to somebody?" Gibson said. "Like, why? Why?"

"I’ve been doing this all my life," she said. "This is something I’ve wanted to do as a little girl. And you don’t have to bend your morals to get to certain places."

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.