Stars and fans back Kesha in contract dispute after abuse allegations
Some famous names are throwing their sympathy and support behind Kesha after the singer lost a bid to record music independent of megaproducer Dr. Luke, whom she has accused in civil court of emotional and sexual abuse.
Kesha wept as a New York Supreme Court judge denied an injunction Friday that would have allowed her to make music outside her six-album contract with Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records, a Sony subsidiary, until the lawsuits and countersuits between the singer and producer are decided.
Fans clogged the sidewalk outside the courthouse bearing signs that read #FreeKesha. Supporters say Kesha should not be forced to collaborate with a man she says drugged and raped her years ago, and berated her until she developed an eating disorder, for which she entered rehab in January 2014.
Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) has vigorously denied the allegations, calling them an extortion attempt by an artist unhappy with her career trajectory, and countersued Kesha, her mother and manager for defamation and breach of contract.
Big name singers Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson and Janelle Monae expressed their sadness at Kesha’s situation on Twitter after Friday’s ruling. Clarkson, who has worked with Dr. Luke, shared a tweet from the band Best Coast calling the ruling “bull****”: “Trying 2 not say anything since I can’t say anything nice about a person… so this is me not talking about Dr. Luke,” she wrote.
“There are people all over the world who love you @KeshaRose. And I can say truly I am in awe of your bravery,” said Lady Gaga.
As the suits wind their way through the courts, Kesha’s music career has stalled. Her attorney, Mark Geragos, argued Friday that she should be allowed to make a living in the meantime, asking for the preliminary injunction that would let her work with producers other than Dr. Luke.
New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich denied the injunction.
“You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry,” Kornreich told Geragos, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Dr. Luke’s attorneys argued that the producer had agreed to allow Kesha to record without him, which “decimates your argument,” Kornreich told Geragos.
According to a suit filed by Dr. Luke, Kesha’s 2005 contract specified that she would provide her exclusive recording services to his company for a period of time, which could be extended through the release of her sixth album. Dr. Luke would also provide production services for at least six recordings on each Kesha album.
Kesha’s camp countered that Dr. Luke’s willingness to allow her the freedom to record with other producers under the Sony umbrella is an “elusive promise,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Her attorney has said the injunction was filed because Dr. Luke had refused to release her from her obligation to work directly with his label.
Kesha had expressed willingness to record with other producers at Sony, her counsel says.
Kesha, whose full name is Kesha Rose Sebert, alleged in a suit filed in Los Angeles in 2014 that Dr. Luke, a powerful figure in pop music, convinced her to move away from her family in Nashville at 18 to pursue a glamorous career as a pop star in 2005.
“Dr. Luke abused Ms. Sebert in order to destroy her self-confidence, self-image, and self-worth so that he could maintain complete control over her life and career,” the suit alleges.
Kesha says in the suit that she developed bulimia after Dr. Luke regularly disparaged her weight, calling her a “fat f****** refrigerator.”
The sexual abuse claims stem in part from an alleged incident in which Kesha says Dr. Luke gave her pills she later found out were a “date rape drug” and raped her while she was unconscious. The singer says she woke up nude in the producer’s hotel room, and phoned her mother to tell her she’d been raped and need to go to the emergency room.
The civil lawsuit claims that Dr. Luke told Kesha if she reveled the abusive incidents, he would destroy her and her family’s lives.
Dr. Luke insists the abuse never happened and that Kesha was convinced by new management to break their exclusive contract by threatening to ruin his reputation.
By Melonyce McAfee