Wondering why Kesha is suddenly in the news - or just not sure on all of the facts? This is everything you need to know
Over the weekend you may have seen #FreeKesha trending on Twitter, and wondered what the hell is going on.
Well here’s the deal. The 28 year old pop star, formerly known as Ke$ha, has been garnering support on social media from fans and fellow musicians after a recent – shocking – court verdict.
Since October 2014, the singer-songwriter, once famous for hit songs Tik Tok (who could forget the lyric “wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy), and “We R Who We R”, has been battling in a lawsuit against her producer Dr Luke, after claiming he sexually abused her – which means she needs get out of her contract with Sony, for obvious reasons.
As it stands, Kesha has been unable to record new music for two years. To put that in slightly-less celebrity terms, that means she’s been unable to work – or do the one thing she loves doing (singing).
Ahead of the court date, an emotional video of her singing Amazing Grace went viral as she explained to fans that until she’s freed from her contract, she can’t release new music, but she could “sing something else that exists”.
But Kesha’s request was denied by a New York judge on Friday.
WHO IS ‘DR LUKE’?
Well first of all, he is not a doctor. However, he has got an impressive back catalogue of songs on his resume. He shot to fame in the music industry in 2004 when he co-produced Kelly Clarkson’s single “Since U Been Gone”. Since then he has co-written and produced successful records such as Pink’s “Who Knew”, the annoyingly catchy “Girlfriend” for Avril Lavigne, “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry and many more.
Although he signed Kesha to his record label, which is owned by Sony, things turned publicly sour in 2013 when she announced to fans she felt creatively stifled. A fan of Kesha, set up a petition to “free” Kesha from Dr. Luke’s management and accused Luke of “stunting” Kesha’s creative growth as an artist. The petition got over 10,000 signatures.
Then, in January 3, 2014, Kesha checked into rehab for an eating disorder she had struggled with since she was signed. Kesha’s mother believed Dr. Luke was partly responsible for her daughter’s bulimia, saying that he had told the singer to lose weight and compared the shape of her body to a fridge.
SO WHAT ALLEGEDLY TOOK PLACE NEXT?
Kesha claimed Dr Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, had sexually abused her since she was 18.
In the lawsuit, Kesha said that Dr Luke gave her drugs and alcohol before sexually assaulting her. Kesha even detailed one event where he gave her “sober pills” after she had been drinking, and said that later on she awoke naked in his bed, unsure of how she had got there.
She also filed a suit against Sony claiming that they either knew what was happening or turned a blind eye to the abuse, which puts other female artists at risk.
Unable to produce new music, Kesha’s lawyers say she cannot tour – and that being out of the spotlight will ultimately damage her career beyond repair.
Dr Luke is now suing Kesha, stating that the allegations are “outrageous” and “untrue”.
SO WHY DIDN’T SHE WIN?
Judge Shirley Kornreich denied that there was any evidence that there was “irreparable harm” to Kesha’s career. She also said this was due to a lack of medical evidence or records to back up the singers assault claims.
Now, Kesha will remain under contract with the record label owned by the man she says raped her.
Kesha sobbed as despite her claims the judge announced that she was doing the “commercially reasonable thing” as Dr Luke had invested so much money into her career so far.
The Judge said: “You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry.”
HOLD UP, ARE YOU SERIOUS?
Unfortunately, yes! The judge ruled in favour of money and business rather than in the interests of a woman brave enough to speak about her experiences.
Twitter uses are outraged about the decision and there has been an outpouring of support on social media from other musicians:
Demi Lovato had some very strong opinions about the situation and about the notable silence from other female artists that claim to be feminists, many took this as a dig at Taylor Swift.
Taylor’s rep later revealed that the singer has now donated $250,000 to Kesha’s court battle.
And you know when you were told as a child that if you can’t say anything nice don’t say it at all? Well Kelly Clarkson, who worked with Dr Luke at the beginning of her career, had an interestingly cryptic tweet:
SO WHAT NEXT?
The judge did not dismiss her suit, so it isn’t over yet. Dr. Luke has agreed to allow Kesha to record for another Sony entity without his interference but her lawyers aren’t too keen on this proposal – for understandable reasons. After all, if Kesha wants to record anything she has to do so on Sony’s watch, and if you had experienced sexual assault, you probably wouldn’t want the man who did it – or an organisation that continues to employ him, to profit off your work either.
In the meantime, we’re going to leave you with this stat:
11 adults in the UK are raped every hour.
Only 15 per cent of them ever report their assault to the police.
Only 5.7 per cent of those charges end in a conviction.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next developments on the case.