Judge Kornreich’s denial of Kesha’s preliminary injunction was apparently due to a lack of basic evidence that supports Kesha’s claims. One such claim sees Kesha accusing Dr Luke of getting her intoxicated and then giving her a “sober pill” that she consumed not realising that it was allegedly a gamma-hydroxybutyrate pill (GHB), a known date-rape drug. According to the court documents, “Ms. Sebert [Kesha] took the pills [GHB] and woke up the following afternoon, naked in Dr Luke’s bed, sore and sick, with no memory of how she got there.”
Kesha also accuses Dr Luke of countless attacks on her weight and appearance, even comparing her to a refrigerator, therefore setting the foreground for her eating disorder that saw the singer admitting herself into a rehabilitation centre in 2014 for bulimia and suicidal thoughts. Although Sony has said that Kesha will not have to work with producer Dr Luke any longer, they did add that in his contract he has the right to produce six of her songs per album. Kesha agreed to a six album deal with Sony, but has only released two albums so far. Therefore, she is still required to record four albums as per the stipulations of her contract. This suggests that Kesha will often have to make contact with her alleged abuser until she fulfils her contract with Kemosabe, which still requires her to complete three more albums.
A key piece of evidence that shifted the court’s decision in favour of the defence was a videotaped deposition from 2011, where Kesha, in a deposition for a lawsuit against her former managers at DAS Communications, said under oath that Dr Luke had never assaulted or drugged her. At the time the videotape was made Kesha had not brought up any charges or allegations against Dr Luke. Judge Kornreich said, “There has been no irreparable harm … she’s being given the opportunity to record.”
Statements such as the above have been accused of exacerbating rape culture and have caused a media frenzy. Many fans and celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Lorde, Ariana Grande and Lily Allen have shown their support through the hash tag #freeKesha. Comedian Lena Dunham publicly backed Kesha as she wrote about the importance of being aware of rape culture and feeling secure at all times in her weekly newsletter Lenny Letter. Adele mentioned that she supported Kesha in her speech at the Brit Awards, and Taylor Swift donated $250 000 to Kesha and her family to cover some of the legal fees accumulated during the trial. However, TV host Wendy Williams sided against Kesha, saying, “Unfortunately, business is business,” and, “If everybody complained because somebody allegedly sexually abused them and was ripping them off, then contracts would be broken all the time.”
The ongoing battle between Kesha and Dr Luke has highlighted the manner in which the issue of sexual abuse is dealt with by society. The number of fans and celebrities coming out in support of Kesha points to a bigger issue that needs to be addressed
Sony is reportedly releasing Dr Luke from his contract a year early, amid his legal battles with Kesha and pressure from feminist groups. The Wrap reported that “Sony will end it’s working relationship” with Dr Luke. However, Dr Luke’s lawyer issued a statement to Time, saying that “This is not true. Luke has an excellent relationship with Sony. His representatives are in regular contact with executives at the highest levels at Sony and this has never come up.”
Image: Staff cartoonist.