In an ongoing war of attrition that has lasted far too long, Sony Entertainment appears to have drawn a line in the sand a whopping three years after Kesha first publicly accused Dr. Luke of a myriad of abuse. While it is unclear whether or not Dr. Luke’s career will actually take a major hit, as of this week, he is no longer the CEO of the record label he established with Sony called Kemosabe Records, and the company has removed a page dedicated to the producer from their website. While it seems like Sony may have taken a definitive stand against the producer, in reality, the contract between the company and Dr. Luke has merely expired.
“I know I cannot work with Dr. Luke. I physically cannot. I don’t feel safe in any way,” read the words in an injunction from the artist. The fact that Kesha’s words appeared to fall on the deaf ears of a major, multi-billion dollar entertainment company who had invested money and time into the talented pop star is sadly unsurprising, but still completely deplorable.
As the evidence shows, Dr. Luke is infinitely more sus than Kesha, with an impressively slimey track record as her controlling creative collaborator. Their partnership first began over a decade ago, when Dr. Luke convinced the then-18 year old straight-A high school student to drop out and move to Los Angeles. Thanks to Dr. Luke, Kesha was officially uncredited on her first major feature—Flo Rida’s “Right Round.” The smash hit went 6x Platinum in the US and she didn’t make a dime off the track on which her soaring vocals are essential.
Kesha’s lawyers have stipulated that Dr. Luke would brag to her about his sexual conquests, getting women drunk and performing anal sex on them. In at least one instance, he allegedly forced Kesha to consume drugs and alcohol, then proceeded to slip her a GHB pill—also known as the “date rape” drug—and sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious.
Kesha went to rehab for her eating disorder in 2014, and there is plenty of evidence showing that Dr. Luke did nothing but encourage it with forms of aggressive body shaming. Regardless, it seems pretty clear that even without her eating disorder, this utterly abusive creative partnership with Dr. Luke was harmful not just to Kesha’s career, but her well-being.
Toss the mounting evidence that Dr. Luke is a less-than stellar human being aside—Sony could and should have done more to support and protect Kesha as soon as she revealed Dr. Luke had been abusing her for a decade. It’s far too convenient that Sony is only attempting now—when the contract is expiring on its own—to wash their hands clean of Dr. Luke.
In response to an injunction filed by Kesha’s lawyer Mark Geragos demanding Kesha’s release from her contract, Sony and Kemosabe responded by saying it was a “transparent and misguided attempt to renegotiate her contracts.” Kesha has made Sony lots of money, and so has Dr. Luke, and it is more than unfortunate that with their relative silence on the matter, they sided with just one of their assets—the older, white male one.
In a perfect world, one that I assume most sane people would prefer to live in, Sony would have just supported Kesha in the first place. Like far too many women, Kesha has experienced sexual abuse only to be told that she’s lying and exaggerating. Or even, as Dr. Luke has claimed, Kesha is “motivated by money” in going through the painstaking, rarely lucrative or satisfying process of formally pressing charges against him.
Kesha’s latest lawsuit against Dr. Luke was rejected March 21, 2017, and it remains to be seen whether or not this expired contract will even come close to derailing Dr. Luke’s career in the same way it has Kesha’s. Sure he’s no longer CEO of Kemosabe Records, but it didn’t make Sony much money anyway.
At the very least, there are thousands of sane people out there that believe Kesha, stand with her, and are actively supporting her—Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Lorde are just a few fellow pop stars who have said #FreeKesha. Taylor Swift even donated $250,000 to Kesha last February to support her after a judge ordered she was obligated to continue her contract with Dr. Luke, more specifically, that she would be forced to record six more albums with him.
Frustratingly, Sony distancing themselves from Dr. Luke may seem like a victory for Kesha and her fans, but it might actually make the whole situation more difficult for her. Kesha had stated in the past to the trial judge that when Dr. Luke’s contract with Sony expires, she would no longer have Sony as a go-between, making her situation worse. Additionally, Dr. Luke’s defamation claims against her are still pending, and the fact that his deal with Sony has expired adds to his attorney’s evidence that his career has suffered as a result of her allegations.
This whole ordeal can be boiled down to the following hot, spicy take: BELIEVE SURVIVORS. Kesha should never have had to deal with any of this in the first place. If we could all just believe people when they accuse others of abuse, survivors would not have to be unjustly forced to interact with their abusers.
In any case, it is heartening to see Kesha working on music in spite of all this, and we can’t wait to hear what she’s working on. We’re rooting for you Kesha.
If you have been sexually assaulted, there are resources to help you.
The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.
- Cover Image: AP