On Friday, February 19, singer and songwriter Kesha Rose Sebert (better known as Ke$ha) lost a bid to be freed from her contract with Sony. Kesha has been in this legal battle for quite some time now and has been fighting hard against a producer that she alleges was both sexually and mentally abusive.
Kesha was a model student in high school. She had perfect SAT scores and was even taking online courses through a nearby university. Kesha dropped out of high school at the age of 18 when she met Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, a world-renowned music producer.
Dr. Luke has worked with many other big names such as Katy Perry, Miranda Cosgrove, and Jessie J. Dr. Luke promised Kesha fame and fortune, recognizing the musical ability she had.
Although Dr. Luke delivered his promise when Kesha hit it big with her multi platinum single, “Tik Tok,” Kesha was extremely unhappy with Dr. Luke as her producer.
In details of the lawsuit against Dr. Luke, Kesha was reportedly raped by the producer when he forced her to snort illegal drugs and later gave her “sober pills” which were actually a date-rape drug. Kesha woke up the following afternoon “sore and sick” and immediately called her mother and was taken to the emergency room.
Although it’s not clear why this was never reported to the police, other details in the case may be a sort of breadcrumb trail. Along with the alleged rape, Kesha claimed that Dr. Luke was mentally abusive. He repeatedly called her “fat,” eventually causing her to develop an eating disorder.
Kesha spent time in a rehab facility which specializes in eating disorders and was warned by doctors that Dr. Luke was a toxic force in her life and she needed to stay away from him. However, this is virtually impossible as Dr. Luke holds Kesha’s music career in his hands and avoiding working with him would be extremely difficult.
Kesha has been fighting hard to be freed from her 6-record contract with Sony so that she doesn’t have to work with her alleged rapist and abuser.
Kesha’s bid to be freed from the contract was turned down on the grounds that Kesha has the opportunity to record without having direct contact with Dr. Luke. However, even if Kesha doesn’t have to physically be near Dr. Luke, he would likely produce most of the songs on any new album, meaning they would have to be in contact.
Photos of the singer in court have been making their rounds on the internet. One photo in particular shows a tear-soaked Kesha crying in the back of the courtroom next to her mother as the ruling is announced. One particularly touching photo shows Kesha crying with a fan in a strong embrace as she exited the courtroom.
Despite the disappointing ruling, the outpour of support for the singer has been overwhelming. Demi Lovato announced her support for Kesha via Twitter, while Taylor Swift reportedly donated $250,000 to Kesha, since her work has been put on hold. Social media has been a vital tool in the growing support for Kesha, with the hashtags #FreeKesha and #IStandWithKesha going viral and producing thousands of memes showing support for the singer.
Although this is one rape case out of many that may never get justice, this case is especially complicated as Kesha’s entire career and livelihood is essentially being held for ransom. Kesha has been extremely strong in the way she’s dealt with the case and offered up details that may have been extremely hard to come to terms with.
So why is it so important that we stand with Kesha? Although her sexual assault may not have been dealt with legally, one can tell that something has been done to Kesha that is causing her to fight so hard and be so visibly emotional.
This is an extremely high profile case, and with that comes people of much less stature who have experienced similar situations who are being exposed to the details of this case. To see Kesha’s strength and to offer support for her is vital not only to the singer, but to rape and abuse victims everywhere. If Dr. Luke weren’t guilty and if he had even an ounce of human decency, wouldn’t he simply step away and allow Kesha to work with a different producer?
Along with rape and abuse, there is a much larger picture we must look at: how the music industry treats its women. Rapper Chris Brown plead guilty in 2009 to a felony charge of assault against his ex-girlfriend, singer Rihanna.
Despite being a violent felon who has committed a heinous crime against another human being, Brown still has a thriving music career and his fans have largely forgiven the incident.
On the other hand, Rihanna said in a 2015 interview with Vanity Fair that she felt she has been repeatedly punished since the incident. For example, the NFL declined to use her and Jay-Z’s hit song, “Run this Town” during an opening-weekend broadcast of a game.
This happened around the time of the Ray Rice incident and many speculate that they didn’t want to use Rihanna’s song because she, like Rice’s wife, was a victim of domestic violence. Also, Zayn Malik, the now ex-member of boyband One Direction was freed from his contract simply because he wasn’t happy in the band anymore.
So why isn’t Kesha being given the same graces? Although there is an outpouring of support for the singer, there are also many harsh criticisms.
As with most unsolved rape cases, many are asking why the rape was never reported to police. Some arguments that I’ve seen against Kesha include allegations that the singer is only bringing up the lawsuit for money. Others criticize her for not continuing to make music, although she does have the option to record.
These criticisms show that there is a still a massive misunderstanding of rape in our culture. Rape often isn’t something that someone can just get over and move on from. Many times, victims experience extreme trauma following the incident. Along with that, it seems Dr. Luke has an extensive history in abusing Kesha. You know when doctors are saying she should stay away from him that there is a real issue.
Despite the fact that the universal understanding of rape is probably very far away, fans and supporters of Kesha need to remain strong. Our justice system has a long history of letting down rape victims, typically because of a lack of physical evidence. However, we need to be vigilant and stand up against a system that has largely failed.
Stand with Kesha, stand with sexual abuse victims.