Kesha still works for Dr. Luke: Despite sexual abuse allegations, judge says "my instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing"

#FreeKesha trends again as judge denies injunction today against record producer Kesha has accused of rape

Published February 19, 2016 5:49PM (EST)

  (AP/Charles Sykes)
(AP/Charles Sykes)

Singer Kesha faced a setback in court today in her fight to get an injunction against Dr. Luke (Lukas Gottwald), the producer she’s accused of ongoing abuse and assault over a period of ten years, which would allow her to record on her own. Without the injunction, she’s left only with the option of working with him and his label, Kemosabe Records, owned by Sony, or not recording. As The Hollywood Reporter reported on the court’s decision:

“You're asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry," said the judge to Mark Geragos, the attorney for Kesha, who sat in the back row with her mother Pebe and looked solemn.

Kornreich heard arguments that Dr. Luke had invested a substantial amount — $60 million in her career — and that he had agreed to allow her to record without his involvement. The judge told Geragos that "decimates your argument," adding "My instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing."

Her decision to deny an injunction came amid planned protests from Kesha fans outside the courtroom.

The article went on to say:

Dr. Luke's own position is that Kesha and her reps are attempting to extort him in order to extricate her from contracts with Luke's Kemosabe Records label, housed under Sony. He denies the sexual abuse and attributes her action to becoming frustrated by a stalled career. His attorneys led by Christine Lepera have argued that Kesha's claims came too late and are too vague, the harm is overstated and that she's not likely to prevail on her discrimination, harassment and hate crime claims nor beat his ones for allegedly breaching a contract and committing defamation.

According to New York Daily News, the singer “broke down in tears” upon hearing the decision, noting, “The ‘Tik Tok’ singer says she's too afraid to continue working with super producer Dr. Luke, whose real name is Luke Gottwald and who holds her exclusive contract, and that Sony won’t promote her music if she’s paired with a different producer.”

Tweets by BuzzFeed reporter Mary Georgantopoulos expanded on the ruling:

It’s unclear how the contract being “heavily negotiated” pertains to her claims, considering that those negotiations would have taken place before the alleged abuse. Any contract is going to be negotiated, but the implication seems to be that the dollar amount supersedes the disturbing and detailed claims Kesha has made. As Jenn Frank wrote earlier this month at Flavorwire:

Kesha was a teenager when she first signed exclusively with Dr. Luke. She’s already on the record that she’s uncomfortable with pop music anyway, that she wants creative autonomy.

But today she’s seeking emotional autonomy, too. In other words, Kesha’s legal plight isn’t extricable from her larger allegations about mental and sexual abuse. She wants full autonomy. And, point-blank, we don’t have a legal system in place to defend a creative professional from all this stuff.

In an Instagram post yesterday, Kesha made a heartfelt confession as to why she’s been so ardent in pursuing this case, despite the potential it has for stalling her career for good, writing, “I have nothing left to hide. I did this because the truth was eating away my soul and killing me from the inside. this is not just for me. this is for every woman, every human who has ever been abused. sexually. emotionally. mentally. I had to tell the truth. so the outcome will be what it will be. there's nothing left I can do. it's just so scary to have zero control in your fate. but this is my path this life for whatever reason.”

Should Kesha be allowed to record again with a new producer, she certainly has her share of ardent supporters who’ve been actively following the case. An online petition titled “#FreeKesha! Tell Sony Not to Force Her to Work With Her Alleged Abuser” currently has over 118,000 signatures and was used to help fans organize to meet outside the courthouse today. TMZ reported that fans chanted “Kesha needs her freedom back/Dr. Luke is really wack” and “Free Kesha Now” as she walked into the courtroom.

On social media, fans remained hopeful for a positive decision:

Others vowed to boycott Sony and used the hashtag #Sonysupportsrape for their refusal to release Kesha from her contract.

Kesha Still Chained To Dr. Luke

By Rachel Kramer Bussel

Rachel Kramer Bussel is the author of "Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays" and the editor of more than 70 anthologies, including "The Big Book of Orgasms" and the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series. She teaches erotica writing workshops online and in-person, writes widely about books, culture, sex, dating and herself, and Tweets @raquelita.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aol_on Dr. Luke Kesha Music Rape Culture Sexual Abuse Sony