Kesha and the Dr. Luke Controversy

Glenn Rohrbacker

There has been a recent controversy in the music industry involving pop artist Kesha and producer and record label executive Dr. Luke. Kesha accused Dr. Luke of sexual assault, and filed a lawsuit to be removed from her contract with him and his label. The court denied this request, citing a deposition from 2011 where Kesha testified saying that Dr. Luke had not drugged or touched her. The court also ruled with the justification of lack of evidence in her allegations. As of April 6, New York Judge Shirley Kornreich dismissed Kesha’s claims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender violence. The ruling states, “While Kesha’s [claim] alleges that she was sexually, physically and verbally abused by Gottwald for a decade, she describes only two specific instances of physical/sexual abuse.” This has been an ongoing battle in the legal world, but we have seen a lot of outcry in the public over the issue of sexual assault and rape culture. The phrase “Free Kesha” was trending on Twitter and was the key point of the whole ordeal. Whether or not they were fans of her music or not, people around the world stood with Kesha.

Kesha (AP photo)
Kesha (AP photo)

Numerous celebrities reacted to the ruling. George Takei wrote, “This ruling is an unfortunate and troubling example of favoring corporations over people.” Producer Brad Walsh tweeted “Forcing a woman to work with her rapist, or to work to profit her rapist, is a failure of justice.” Anne Hathaway, Reese Witherspoon, Lena

Dunham and Mariska Hargitay also expressed their solidarity with Kesha. Musicians from every genre stood with Kesha as well. Adele and Lady GaGa both dedicated performances to her and producers like Jack Antonoff and Zedd offered to work with her for free. Kesha received overwhelmingly support, despite it not being replicated in the court room. Kesha recently posted a picture on Instagram saying, “so. I got offered my freedom IF i were to lie. I would have to APOLOGIZE publicly and say that I never got raped. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS behind closed doors. I will not take back the TRUTH. I would rather let the truth ruin my career than lie for a monster ever again [SIC].”

The most recent controversy with Dr. Luke includes Jennifer Lopez. At the American Idol finale, JLO revealed her new single, “Ain’t Your Mama,” which was produced by none other than Dr. Luke. Supporters of the “Free Kesha” movement were not happy with this news, not hesitating at all to call out Lopez on this betrayal. “If you buy Jennifer Lopez‘s new single, just know that you’re supporting Dr. Luke, then re-evaluate your decision,” said one person against the collaboration. This shows the power of this movement, where people are turning against Jennifer Lopez, someone who is generally loved by all. Kesha and her supporters continue to speak out against this issue and the issue of sexual assault in general.