What’s Going On With Kesha?
Kesha Rose Sebert (FKA Ke$ha) is a popular recording artist famous for chart-topping hits such as Tik Tok and Die Young. Despite her success producing party-pop anthems under Sony and her producer Dr. Luke, the performer claims a much darker relationship was lurking under the surface. The partnership she had with Dr. Luke was allegedly dangerous and abusive, and she no longer felt safe collaborating with him after the producer reportedly assaulted her as a young girl.
For the past several months, Kesha has taken her case to court, and asked for a preliminary injunction between her and Sony records that would allow her to explore new contracts independent of Dr. Luke. This afternoon, the Manhattan Supreme Court judge announced the request would undermine New York state law. and the injunction could not be granted. For Kesha, this means she will be forced to record 6 more albums with her alleged rapist before leaving Sony.
For the 119,000+ Kesha supporters that have signed an online petition asking that Sony allow Kesha to work independently of Dr. Luke, this case presents a huge loss. But there are many of us who have still not heard the entire story, and even more that may have heard the court decisions but not the details of the case. Read on to discover how Kesha has been living through these past several years, and what events have led up to her exiting the New York state courthouse this afternoon in tears.
Ten years ago, at the age of 18, popular recording artist Kesha dropped out of high school to pursue her dreams of becoming a musician. This drastic life change was facilitated by the work of Dr. Luke, a musical producer nearly twice her age who discovered the young talent in Nashville, Tennessee and put her on the fast track to fame. Under Dr. Luke’s production company, Kemosabe Records, Kesha Sebert (then known as Ke$ha) recorded pop songs that told a story far removed from the tragedy she was living through.
Since her last album, Warrior, released in 2013, Kesha has all but disappeared from the pop music scene. It’s only now, three years and two lawsuits later, that the true devastation of these past 10 years has bubbled up to the surface.
Working With Dr.Luke
As a young girl in the industry, 18 year old Kesha was extremely susceptible to manipulation, and Dr. Luke is alleged to have taken advantage. While producing Kesha’s musical career, the then-32-year-old Dr. Luke reportedly gave her gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and had his way with her while she was unconscious.
In addition to physically assaulting her, Dr. Luke allegedly used intimidation tactics to take control of Kesha’s musical career. According to recent reports made by the artist, Dr. Luke verbally harassed Kesha by comparing her body to a “fat refrigerator” and forced her to ingest illegal drugs, which frightened the artist into giving him full control over her music and TV documentary series. Kesha would end up writing over 70 songs for Warrior, as well as a full album with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips entitled Lipsha, that Dr. Luke would ban from release.
On January 3, 2014, Kesha entered rehab for an eating disorder she had adopted under the stress of Dr. Luke’s reported harassment. It was only after two months of rehabilitation, and dropping her famous dollar sign, that the artist finally found the courage to stand up to her alleged abuser.
In October of 2014, after doctors promised working with Dr. Luke could be “life-threatening” for her, Kesha took her record label to court. Kesha filed suit on Dr. Luke based on action of of assault and battery, harassment, gender violence, civil harassment, unfair business, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The artist sought, among other relief, to void her current recording agreements, and freely enter into new contracts with other companies. Buzzfeed News had this to say:
“Kesha Rose Sebert wants nothing more than to be able to record an album,” her court papers state. “Her only condition is that she be allowed to record with a record label that is not affiliated with someone who has abused her.”
Dr. Luke filed his own suit on the issue for breach of contract and defamation, claiming Kesha was attempting to extort Dr. Luke in order to flee from her own contract. The claim was waived by the New York judge handling the case, who ruled Rovner’s behavior “didn’t meet the standard of a tort and Rovner was acting within his authority as a manager” as reported by Yahoo! Finance, though Dr. Luke is coming back with a new suit filed in the state of Tennessee in an attempt to take down Kesha’s mom for her involvement in the matter.
Today, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich ruled “Sony would suffer irreparable harm if Kesha was not compelled to abide by a contract that requires her to make six more albums with the company,” as reported by the New York Daily News, and Kesha would not be granted a preliminary injunction from her recording contract with the alleged rapist. Upon hearing the ruling in the back of that New York state court room, 28 years old and 10 years into her battle with Dr. Luke, Kesha Sebert was brought to tears.
As for the underlying claims of emotional and psychological abuse, Kornreich postponed her decision. The result of Dr. Luke’s claims against Kesha’s mother are yet unreported.
What You Can Do
Without telling Kesha’s story, Dr.Luke and producers like him will be able to continue manipulating young girls in the music industry and profiting off of their hardship. If you validate the experience of Kesha Rose Sebert and want to show your support for her situation, tweet this article with the hashtag #FreeKesha to inform the public of Kesha’s trial and explain her recent disappearance. In the words of the artist herself as told to E! News:
“I’m dying to put out music, I’m like dying, literally… There’s so much to say right now.”
“I think the most important thing when you’re an artist is you can’t ever let your artistic creative fire be stifled. You have to get it out somehow.”
If you’d like to stay updated with Kesha’s recent work outside of her recording contract with Dr. Luke, you can support her exploring her acting ventures in features such as Jem and the Holograms and Jane the Virgin. Kesha can also be found on instagram, where she will be updating fans on her journey as news arises.