APA Says False Evidence Used To Sue Agency, CEO Jim Gosnell And Others In Sexual Harassment Case

Jim Gosnell
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for NATD
– Jim Gosnell
APA CEO Jim Gosnell is honored at The Nashville Association Of Talent Directors Honors Gala at The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville Sept. 14, 2011

Agency for the Performing Arts, CEO Jim Gosnell and others have been sued for sexual harassment by a former assistant, identified only as Jane Doe, over claims the agency says have been independently investigated and found to have included allegedly falsified evidence.

The former employee alleges that APA management permitted a “toxic, pervasive and sexually abusive environment” and that Gosnell was personally abusive and, at times, violent towards her. The complaint includes purported text messages allegedly sent to her by APA partner and head of music Josh Humiston and VP of talent Paul Santana.

The lawsuit names APA, Gosnell, Santana, Humiston and Michael Hammond (plus John Does) as defendants against nine charges including sexual harassment and battery, gender violence, negligence, retaliation and wrongful termination.

Jane Doe is represented by Geragos and Geragos, the same law firm that represented former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick in his case against the NFL and, most recently, defended actor Jussie Smollet against charges of filing a false police report in Chicago.

For its part, APA says while it has not reviewed the complaint, it believes “Jane Doe” is a former employee whose complaints were investigated independently and found to be not only baseless, but containing falsified evidence which, if true, could be considered a criminal offense.

“APA has not seen the complaint,” a statement released to Pollstar says. “However, we heard many of these same claims months ago from the terminated employee who we believe filed the complaint, took the claims extremely seriously, hired independent investigators including a retired judge to look into them, and determined that not only are they false but that the person (a former terminated employee) raising them had fabricated email and text messages in order to shake the agency down.

“APA refused to pay the money and months ago sued the former employee in arbitration for extortion and defamation. We believe she is now retaliating against APA and its agents through this frivolous public complaint in which she hides her identity.  We are confident that this former employee, now on her fourth attorney, will not succeed with her scheme of extortion. We intend to take all appropriate legal action against her and her counsel.”

In response, attorney Michael Popok of Geragos and Geragos told Variety that “Jane Doe” will be able to bring witnesses to corroborate her allegations and that the text messages are valid.

“She is not going to be the only witness on her behalf in that courtroom to prove her case,” Popok told Variety. “I am confident in my client’s veracity. … 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.”