According to a report from NBC, The hopeful artist says she signed a deal with Derulo and met with things she had never experienced before. Gibson claimed that Derulo had unwanted invitations, aggressive behavior and even implications that she’d have to have sex with him to advance her career.
“I’m at this point in my life right now, it’s very heartbreaking,” Gibson said in an interview Wednesday with NBC News. “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 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the artist claims that 34-year-old Derulo changed his mood after she rejected multiple sexual advances and repeated invitations to dine and drink alcohol. Eventually, the “Whatcha Say” singer dropped her deal altogether. She also accuses Derulo of sexual harassment.
Gibson, 25, moved to Los Angeles in 2008 with her sisters. The star created a YouTube channel with more than 1.25 million subscribers, but her sisters decided not to continue with music.
Before the split with her sisters, Derulo was aware of the musical act Ceraadi, and the artist invited the girls to a work session.
Back in August of 2021, Derulo reached out to create a future as a solo artist for Gibson. According to the lawsuit, the deal required Gibson to produce a mixtape in four months and then an album in six months respectively.
”’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,” Gibson said, adding that she had always hoped to be on Atlantic Records.
Gibson also alleges that Derulo invited her to drink during their studio sessions, but she declined so she could stay aware of her vocal condition and performance.
However, in September of 2021, Gibson did agree to drink in the studio and was given “inappropriately large amounts of alcohol,” the suit says.
“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 said in the NBC News interview. “It’s, like, pressure at this point.”
Gibson says that in November of 2021, she told Derulo she was not willing to go against her own morals to be successful. The suit alleges Derulo responded by telling Gibson she might have to take part in “goat skin and fish scales.”
The artist admits that she was aware of what Derulo was referring to, in this case a strain of cocaine.
Gibson said she learned from online articles about rituals involving sex, goat sacrifices and blood that appeared to be what Derulo was talking about.
“I’ve never heard about this, and I was trying to find and make sense of what it was, and I came across those articles,” she said.
Gibson attended a meeting with Atlantic records back in 2021 with and Derulo. Minuted before the meeting, a woman named Rosa joined. According to the suit, the woman implied she was having sex with Derulo at the time.
During the meeting, Derulo showcased music the woman had recorded, the lawsuit states.
Gibson said she saw the woman’s attendance as a sign of career progress, “because you’re sleeping with his dude,” she said in the NBC News interview. “So I noted that, as well, because, OK, she’s advancing,” she said.
Shortly after, Frank Harris, Derulo’s manager, asked Gibson about the meeting. She implied that she was ‘thrown off guard’ according to the suit, which sent Derulo into a rage.
He “immediately lost control and began aggressively hitting his arm rests screaming, ‘What does she have to do with you!? We weren’t going to tell you anything! We don’t have to tell you anything!” according to the suit.
Gibson was shortly signed after the meeting, but she did not hear from Derulo. The “Want to Want Me” crooner allegedly did not assign her a project manager and even ignored messages. Gibson said she and her mother got in touch with an executive at Atlantic Records to start writing songs and be assigned a project manager.
Derulo agreed to a recording session in June of 2022. The day turned sour after Derulo allegedly had another fit that caused Gibson to fear for her safety, according to the suit. Gibson claims she was late to the session, which she was met to Derulo charging her in front of Gibson’s own mother, Derulo’s staff, a videographer, and Gibson’s engineer.
Derulo allegedly berated Gibson until he “realized the aggressive manner in which he invaded Plaintiff’s personal space and the inappropriate volume of his voice,” the suit says.
“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,” Gibson told NBC News.
Gibson and Derulo never met after the session.
After the session, Gibson’s mother and manager, Sandra Bales, reached out to Derulo’s manager, who told Bales that he was not Derulo’s master, the suit says.
“I know you’re not his master, you’re his manager. … What would you do if this was your daughter?” Bales asked, according to the suit. The suit states that Harris defended Derulo and said Derulo had the right to yell at Gibson. The response devastated Gibson, who felt that “this amazing opportunity was going to deteriorate” because of her refusal to have sex with Derulo.
In July of 2022, Gibson contacted A&R for Atlantic records, where according to the lawsuit, the executive acknowledged Derulo’s behavior and told Gibson “the Atlantic team wants you to win, but I can’t say the same for Jason.” Gibson was dropped from Atlantic and Future History on September 6, 2022.
The mother and daughter tried to contact Human resources at Atlantic Records through email, but no one responded to discuss Derulo’s behavior, according to the suit.
“I’m just trying to fight for what’s right, because what was done to me was not OK,” Gibson said. “And I wouldn’t want anybody else to go through what I went through. They wasted my time. They promised me things. … ‘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.”
Ron Zambrano is representing Gibson in the case. The lawyer has also been representing Lizzo’s dancers as of late.
The lawyer stated Derulo “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.”
Gibson’s lawsuit seeks unpaid wages, loss of earnings, deferred compensation and other employment benefits and damages for emotional distress.