By Sasha Rivera '19
CW: article contains mention of abuse, sexual assault, violence, eating disorders
One of the biggest news stories trending on the internet lately has been the court’s ruling in favor of Dr. Luke in the case of Kesha and her lawsuit against him. Images of Kesha breaking down after the decision and the public support she has received from many other female singers, including a $250,000 donation from Taylor Swift, have sparked public attention and discussion of the situation and of sexism in the music industry.
According to Billboard, “the lawsuit filed on her behalf by Mark Geragos asserts causes of action of sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, civil harassment, unfair business, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.”
Kesha’s goal was to have the contract changed so that she could record with other companies and not be forced to work with Dr. Luke, who she has accused of sexually, mentally, and verbally abusing her multiple times by contributing to her eating disorder and forcing her to do illegal substances. She claims that he convinced her to drop out of high school and has since then completely controlled her life and career, so she has been scared of speaking out about the abuse. Kesha also detailed Dr. Luke’s “despicable conduct” which included getting young women drunk in order to have sex with them and threatening to leave his wife unless she had an abortion. When she went to rehab for her eating disorder, her doctors allegedly warned her that continuing her contract with Dr. Luke could be “life-threatening.”
According to Rolling Stone, Dr. Luke however has filed a lawsuit of his own against Kesha, stating that her claims of physical and mental abuse are false and slanderous. After all, no abuser is going to willingly confess his deeds or acknowledge his wrongdoing. His lawyer stated, “We understand that Kesha has filed a lawsuit of her own against Dr. Luke, though we have not yet seen it. Undoubtedly, Kesha’s lawsuit is nothing more than a continuation of her bad and offensive acts. We are confident that Dr. Luke will prevail in all matters, and that our client will be awarded substantial damages for this malicious conduct.”
Supporters of Dr. Luke claim that Kesha is using the situation for publicity and to take advantage of the producer, citing that in 2011 she testified in a deposition that he had never made any advances towards her. Yet, one must remember that he has more power than she does, therefore she could have been afraid of the consequences of revealing the abuse and therefore lied out of fear; this is a common scenario in the cases of many abuse victims who fear their more powerful abuser.
In a society plagued by rape culture, it is not uncommon for the justice system to take the side of the abuser and call the woman a liar. After all, people like Chris Brown continue to be successful artists despite known incidents of domestic violence, while victims like Kesha are faced with a downfall in their careers when confronting their abusers. Since 2013, her fans have had a “Free Kesha” petition to sever her contract with Dr. Luke, and there is currently a GoFundMe campaign to buy her out of her contract with Sony. I stand with Kesha.