×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

APA Claims Texts Were Fabricated in Lurid Sex Harassment Suit

A former assistant at APA filed a lurid sexual harassment complaint on Wednesday alleging that a partner at the firm sent her graphic text messages and threatened to have her fired when she refused his advances.

The assistant, identified in the suit only as Jane Doe, alleges that top management fostered a “toxic, pervasive and sexually abusive environment.” The suit also claims that APA CEO Jim Gosnell routinely flew into violent rages, threw objects including a stapler and a trash can at her, and called her a “bitch” and an “icy cold c—.”

“APA’s culture promoted sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and sexual violence against its female employees,” the suit alleges. “The men in power at APA were allowed to prey upon usually much younger female subordinates,” the suit claims.

In a response late Wednesday afternoon, APA said that the plaintiff had previously made the allegations internally. The company says that it took the matter seriously and hired investigators including a retired judge. The probe concluded that the claims were false and that the employee had fabricated text messages and emails in an effort “to shake the agency down,” the company said.

“APA refused to pay the money and months ago sued the former employee in arbitration for extortion and defamation,” said an APA spokesperson. “We believe she is now retaliating against APA and its agents through this frivolous public complaint in which she hides her identity.”

The suit quotes from text messages allegedly sent by Josh Humiston, a partner and head of the music department, to the plaintiff, propositioning her in graphic terms.

“Your body is so hot I’ve never seen it in a bikini you should come over to my pool,” he allegedly wrote. “If you f— me I’ll convince Jim (Gosnell) to pay you more money.”

When she declined, he allegedly responded: “You’re a f—ing c—… I’m going to get you fired bitch.”

The suit also alleges that Humiston repeatedly said she would have to have sex with him in order to become an agent. She alleges that when she complained to HR, she was told “that’s just the way life is working in talent agencies.”

The suit also quotes from text messages allegedly sent by Paul Santana, the vice president of talent, who is alleged to have made incessant sexual remarks. “You make me so horny,” he allegedly wrote. “If I take you on a weekend getaway I could finally live out these fantasies I have for you.”

She told him to stop, reminding him that he is married. “Those are just logistics sexy,” he allegedly wrote back, “let me deal with the wife.”

The text messages are attached as exhibits to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs’ law firm, Geragos & Geragos, did not immediately respond to the company’s claim that they were fabricated.

The suit also alleges that in the fall of 2017, an outside investigator was hired in the wake of the firing of agent Tyler Grasham for alleged sexual misconduct. The suit says that before the plaintiff was interviewed about her own allegations, Gosnell instructed her to have “memory loss.” After she related her allegations against Humiston and Santana, the plaintiff alleges that she was ostracized. Several months later, she says she was fired.

In its statement, APA threatened to take legal action against the plaintiff and her law firm.

“We are confident that this former employee, now on her fourth attorney, will not succeed with her scheme of extortion,” the spokesperson said. “We intend to take all appropriate legal action against her and her counsel.”

Update: Michael Popok, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys on the case, says that witnesses will be able to corroborate her allegations.

“She is not going to be the only witness on her behalf in that courtroom to prove her case,” Popok said.

He also stood behind the validity of the text messages.

“I am confident in my client’s veracity,” he said. “I have a plaintiff who is on record under oath saying everything that happened to her… It’s not going to be hard to get to the bottom of this.”

More Biz

  • Alan Horn Bill Tanner

    Alan Horn to Keynote Variety Business Managers Elite Breakfast, Bill Tanner to Be Honored

    Bill Tanner will be recognized with Variety’s 2019 Business Managers Elite Award at the annual Business Managers Elite Breakfast presented by City National Bank, which takes place in Beverly Hills on Nov. 13. Co-chairman and chief creative officer of The Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn will be the keynote speaker in conversation with Variety editor-in-chief, [...]

  • Smoke haze covers the Sydney Harbour

    Australia's Seven West to Merge With Affiliate Prime Media

    Australia’s Seven West Media has agreed a deal to acquire regional broadcast group Prime Media. The move is a further step in the consolidation of Australia’s traditional media industry. The two companies announced on Friday that Seven will make the acquisition entirely through the issue of new shares to the owners of Prime. Both companies [...]

  • Ron Meyer

    Ron Meyer Files $10 Million Suit Over Forged Rothko

    NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer has filed a $10 million suit against two art dealers, claiming they sold him a forged Mark Rothko painting in 2001. Meyer accuses Susan Seidel and Jaime Frankfort of duping him into buying the work. According to the suit, he was told that it would be included in an official [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein Seeks to Call Expert on 'Recovered' Memories at Rape Trial

    Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys are seeking to call an expert on “recovered memories” at his trial on rape and sexual assault charges. The defense has filed a motion asking to call Deborah Davis, a psychologist and professor at the University of Nevada at Reno. Davis is a frequent defense witness. She co-authored an article in 2006 [...]

  • Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime

    Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime and Rolling Stone

    Showtime Documentary Films today announced a new limited docuseries profiling controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine. Titled “SuperVillain” and inspired by the Rolling Stone feature written by Stephen Witt, the three-part series will trace how a New York City deli clerk named Daniel Hernandez became superstar rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine — who racked up 2.6 billion streams and [...]

  • Fader Label Logo

    Fader Label Signs Two New Acts, Boosts Staff

    The Fader Label, home to Clairo, Matt and Kim and others, announced two new signings today along with three new hires on its staff. Charlie Burg and Zachary Knowles have joined the label’s talent roster, while Carson Oberg has come aboard as general manager, Yasmine Panah as project manager and Josh Hymowitz as label coordinator. They [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content