Commentary: Judge rules Kesha must fulfill her contract with her alleged abuser.
Kesha Rose Sebert, also once known as Ke$ha, is an artist with a contract with Sony and a label named Kemosabe, run by Dr. Luke (Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald). She has been seeking to disassociate herself from that contract. She claims Dr. Luke, during his role as her producer, drugged her and raped her when she was 18 and continued to abuse her during their creative partnership. She has already sued him for that sexual assault in 2014.
She was seeking an injuction to be released from her contract so she could work with other collaborators and not Dr. Luke. Last Friday, Judge Shirley Kornreich ruled Kesha must remain contractually obligated with her alleged rapist. The reasons are legal and binding. The judge was quoted saying, “my instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing.” Kesha was reported sobbing in the back of the room, seated next to her mother.
Why am I bringing this to you? Because as much as we love tales of success in the music industry, there’s a dark side we have to be aware of because of the way that enterprises have the same legal rights as individuals. Actually, they have considerably more leverage given the weight of contracts and the extensive legal teams they have ready to go. It does seem to be ethically wrong to force a woman to work for her alleged abuser. Something is broken here than needs to be fixed.
In case you’re wondering, all sites reporting these news, Jezebel, The Hollywood Reporter, The Mary Sue, must all use those terms: claim, alleged, etc. to prevent being legally accused of libel. Although this is an opinion piece, so must I. There’s a lot of details about the case in those three sites. The strange part is how quoting a large figure of 60 million dollars and time invested seems to weight more on the decision of the judge.
According to the other side, Dr. Luke maintains his innocence and believes this is an extortion ploy. Kesha’s lawyers argue that his offer to allow Kesha to record with Sony instead of Kemosabe is an “elusive promise” since Sony more than likely will not promote her. With every passing day, Kesha’s chances at a musical career wane in an industry where fame is always fleeing.
It’s a very toxic situation. Right now, it seems Kesha can’t have her career unless she gives up her soul. Regardless on what your personal opinion of Kesha is, it’s heart-wrenching to see this happen in a court of law where it seems an alleged criminal act is not consider grounds enough to disassociate from a company that favors an influential individual and monetary investment.
I don’t believe that I have enough influence to bring any more awareness to this case. I’m also not as good a writer to shine a new light into this issue that has not been already brought into focus by more talented writers than yours truly. Some readers might be turned off by me echoing bad news instead of happy ones. I might as well have ignored it and left it alone. All that being said, when the one thing that you can think of to help out seems futile, there’s only one choice and doing nothing at all is overused. I chose to write, even if I didn’t say anything new.
Coming up in the Calendar:
- February 23: “New Romantics” hits the radio waves as the next single from 1989.