It has been one hell of a week for Kesha.
Last Friday, a judge denied her petition to be released from her contract with Sony that entailed her to continue working with record producer Dr. Luke, whom she says drugged and raped her as well as emotionally and physically abusing her. This should be nothing new, this has been going on since 2014, and as a result from Kesha’s refusal to work with Dr. Luke she has not released any new music since her 2013 hit with Pitbull, “Timber”. The judge denied Kesha’s petition stating that her claims were false and she was using the allegations for “contractual leverage” against Sony and Dr. Luke. Sony has offered to let Kesha work with another producer, but the singer fears the label won’t promote her work if she doesn’t make more music with her abuser.
It’s utterly disgusting that a judge would blatantly disregard someone’s testimony that they were abused. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous. Do you really think someone would lie about being drugged and raped for “contractual leverage”, whatever the hell that implies? I surely don’t. Lots of celebrities have stumped to new lows in Hollywood, but the photos released of Kesha sobbing when the judge announced the verdict last week (seen above) shows that she’s certainly not lying. Those photos don’t show the face of someone who made up claims of rape for attention, or “contractual leverage”.
This appalling turn of events has pretty much brought out the best and worst in everyone. HBO star and writer/producer Lena Dunham wrote a beautiful essay for this Tuesday’s edition of her email newsletter, Lenny Letter, in which she brings up the subject that Kesha’s plight is basically domestic abuse. She writes: “A huge part of Kesha’s argument rests on her lawyer’s assertion that Gottwald [Dr. Luke], potentially enraged by Kesha’s sexual-assault allegations, could make efforts to bury her subsequent albums, preventing her from publicizing and therefore profiting from her work. This kind of control is a cornerstone of domestic abuse, and it’s far too common: according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, financial abuse is an aspect of approximately 98 percent of abusive relationships. When a woman is not in control of her financial destiny, either because her partner is the primary breadwinner or because he makes financial decisions for the entire family, her world is made minuscule. Her resources evaporate. Fear dominates.” Dunham also writes that 19 states in the United States still allow rapists to assert parental rights over children conceived through rape, which is the source of the problem surrounding Kesha and Dr. Luke. It’s awful, and needs to be changed, It’s quite eye-opening, maybe even more than eye-opening, that a judge would tell someone that they’re lying about having been abused, and force them to continue working with their abuser. Just like if a child is conceived through rape, the rapist could take hold of his parental rights and continue to torture both of them. There is no difference in Kesha’s situation. It makes one get a stomach ache.
Countless music stars have also publicly proclaimed their support for Kesha, including those who have worked with Dr. Luke before, such as Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift. Ms. Swift, in fact, gave $250,000 to Kesha to compensate for her mounting legal bills and to cover any other financial difficulties, as she hasn’t exactly been working because of this mess. Swift’s donation received much media coverage and reportedly received thanks from Kesha’s mother, but of course Ms. Swift was now being transported into Kesha’s headlines. If this was done intentionally by her reps, we’ll probably never know, but I think the act of kindness would’ve been a lot kinder if she had done it without the press release. As a result, Demi Lovato sent out a hasty tweet in response to Swift’s donation, which landed her in severely deep water, with people saying Lovato was “shading” Swift (which, I’ll admit, she was) but god forbid someone speak out about Swift’s donation, which, I’m sorry, deserved to be side-eyed. Lovato just had to be the one to say something, and she’s already the whipping girl of the social media world, so that didn’t exactly help her.
I’m sure Swift wanted to donate that money to Kesha out of the kindness of her heart. I’m sure that’s true. But at the same time, everyone knows Taylor Swift has a strong and somewhat mean fanbase. People were even tweeting her before she donated the money asking her why she hadn’t done anything yet. So when someone like Taylor Swift gives $250,000 to someone in need, you know she’s going to be boosted into headlines. Taylor Swift is an angel, Taylor Swift gave money to Kesha despite putting her own career on the line, having worked with Dr. Luke before. I saw an article this morning on Buzzfeed titled “We Need to Stop Talking About Taylor Swift”, and we do need to stop talking about her. We do. This is about Kesha, not about Taylor Swift. I’m sure her donation was heartfelt and is much appreciated by Kesha herself. But this is about Kesha’s battle, not Taylor Swift being an angel. Leave her out of this. It’s a shame someone with a lower profile couldn’t have donated money to Kesha, because then we wouldn’t have had to endure the countless news articles praising Taylor Swift. Yeah, she’s great, but this isn’t. About. Her.
Dr. Luke has denied all of Kesha’s allegations, stating that she was a very good friend for many years and was even like a sister to him. There’s no telling how this will turn out for Kesha, but she’s already lost valuable years of her career to a man who abused her in a society whose law will force her to continue working with him. Many, many hugs are sent out to her in hopes that this will somehow turn out well for her.