WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS
The F**ked-Up System Keeping Kesha Hostage
A judge denied the pop star’s request to release her from her contract with the producer she’s accused of sexual and emotional abuse.
Kesha still isn’t free.
The 28-year-old pop star smiled as she walked into Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday morning, surrounded by fans rallying to support her fight against Dr. Luke— the music producer she accuses of sexually and emotionally abused her.
One well-wisher raised a sign reading “Dr. Luke is a piece of shit” and another hoisted a “I Stand with Kesha” poster as the gaggle chanted, “Free Kesha now!” and “Kesha needs her freedom back. Dr. Luke is really whack!”
The “Tik Tok” singer was vying for an injunction that would release her from her contract with Dr. Luke—whom she’s accused of rape, sexual assault, and battery in a bombshell lawsuit.
Kesha sobbed as the judge denied the injunction, which comes as her legal battle against the hit-maker, whose full name is Lukasz Gottwald, rages on.
The songstress filed her suit against Gottwald in 2014, accusing him of plying her with drugs and sexually and psychologically abusing her. She also alleges he drove her to an eating disorder—at one point calling her a “fat fucking refrigerator.”
The heated legal saga has sparked a “Free Kesha” movement, with fans rallying to support her online and in a petition, which has more than 100,000 signatures.
Kesha sought the injunction in September of last year, warning that her career would plummet “past the point of no return.”
At the time, Kesha’s lawyer told The Daily Beast that her troubles were no different than that of Bill Cosby’s rape accusers.
Judge Shirley Kornreich is expected to issue a decision about the sexual-assault claims against Gottwald in the coming days, Page Six reported.
But the judge rejected claims that Kesha’s career would nose-dive without release from her Sony contract.
“You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry,” Kornreich told Kesha’s attorney, Mark Geragos, on Friday.
“I don’t understand why I have to take the extraordinary measure of granting an injunction,” the judge added.
Kornreich heard arguments that Dr. Luke—who’s worked with Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and Nicki Minaj—invested $60 million in Kesha’s career and that he agreed to allow her to record with Sony without his involvement, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The judge told Kesha’s lawyer that Dr. Luke’s offer “decimates your argument” and “my instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing,” the Reporter revealed.
Kornreich also spoke of seeking more information on Kesha’s abuse claims, saying the pop star didn’t provide evidence, such as hospital records, to support the assault allegations.
Christine Lepera, an attorney for Dr. Luke, said she was “pleased” with Kornreich’s decision.
“As the Court recognized, Ms. Sebert has always had the ability to proceed with her career if she so chooses,” Lepera said in a statement. “We remain confident that when all the facts are presented that Ms. Sebert’s allegations against Luke will be shown to be completely false and were asserted solely to extort money and gain contractual leverage,” she added.
Kesha fans and feminists alike railed against the judge’s decision Friday afternoon and demanded other pop icons to speak up.
“I want all these so called ‘feminist icons’ TO SPEAK UP FOR KESHA, NOT JUST WHEN ITS CONVENIENT AND BENEFICIAL TO THEM,” one Twitter user, Jordan Rose, wrote.
“Forget all your opinions on Ke$ha—a judge is forcing her to work with the man who raped her,” Devin Faraci posted.
“It’s frightening that we punish abuse victims for fighting back, forcing them to relive a nightmare. The legal system is scary. #FreeKesha,” April Lockhart posted.
Kesha appeared to be in better spirits before the proceeding. On Thursday, she wrote “I have nothing left to hide” on an Instagram post.
“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,” she continued. “So the outcome will be what it will be. There’s nothing left I can do.”
Dr. Luke’s camp has denied the allegations, saying that Kesha is filing “false claims” against the producer to gain advantage in contract negotiations.
Still, the accusations against him paint a horrifying picture.
Kesha claims Gottwald, 42, drugged and raped her shortly after discovering her as an 18-year-old high school student.
In one incident, Gottwald allegedly forced Kesha to drink with him, then gave her “sober pills.” The next day, she woke “naked in Dr. Luke’s bed, sore and sick, with no memory of how she got there,” court records charge.
Kesha claims the producer gave her GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyrate, also known as the date rape drug, according to court papers.
Sometime afterward, Gottwald allegedly threatened to destroy Kesha’s career and her family if she told anyone about the alleged rape, court records state.
“Ms. Sebert wholly believed that Dr. Luke had the power and money to carry out his threats; she therefore never dared talk about, let alone report, what Dr. Luke had done to her,” her lawsuit charges.
Jeffrey Movit, an attorney for Dr. Luke, said Kesha waited too long to bring her sexual-assault claims, Page Six reported. According to the accusations, the alleged abuse occurred in 2005 and 2008.
Last year, the hit-maker’s attorneys said Kesha’s claims were “vague and unsubstantiated, with pivotal details such as dates fudged.”
“If Kesha now regrets her career being mired in legal proceedings, it’s entirely her making,” Gottwald lawyer Christine Lepera said at the time. “It was Kesha who chose to file a lawsuit falsely alleging abuse to gain advantage in contract negotiations, and now she must accept the consequences of her improper actions.”