Taylor Swift made headlines this week when she gave $250,000 to help the singer Kesha endure a protracted legal battle against her producer Lukasz Gottwald, also known as Dr. Luke.
That donation — along with the support of other female musicians who have joined the #freekesha campaign — has drawn attention to Kesha’s lawsuit, which claims Dr. Luke sexually abused her for a decade.
Kesha, whose full name is Kesha Rose Sebert, has been trying to get out of her recording contract with the label Dr. Luke heads — Kemosabe Records, which is part of Sony. The singer suffered a legal setback Friday when a judge ruled she couldn’t get out of the agreement while the case plays out.
Lawyers for Dr. Luke — who has filed a defamation lawsuit against the singer — claim Kesha made the sexual assault allegations in order to renegotiate her contract and get more money.
“Kesha and her counsel have cavalierly subjected Dr. Luke and his family to trial by Twitter, using a vicious smear campaign to ruin his reputation for financial gain while failing to support their claims,” Christine Lepera, a lawyer for Dr. Luke, said in a prepared statement last week. “Kesha to date has never verified the allegations in this case — even when given the opportunity in her affidavit.”
In a lawsuit filed in October 2014, Kesha alleged Dr. Luke encouraged her to drop out of high school and leave her home of Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a “glamorous career in the music industry” in Los Angeles. Once he isolated her from her family and everyone she knew, the lawsuit claims, the abuse began.
Dr. Luke — who’s known for working with stars like Shakira and Katy Perry — “continuously” made sexual advances toward her, Kesha alleged in her complaint. On one occasion, she claimed, Dr. Luke forced her to snort “an illicit drug” before they boarded a plane and then “forced himself” on her. Kesha was so intoxicated she threw up on herself during the flight, she said.
Another time, she said, Dr. Luke told her he was giving her “sober pills” to aid her after she had been forced to drink with him. Kesha “took the pills and woke up the following afternoon, in Dr. Luke’s bed, sore and sick, with no memory of how she got there,” the complaint stated.
Meanwhile, the complaint said, he “continued to drill into her how worthless and inferior she was compared to other recording artists he works with.”
Months after Kesha filed her complaint, Dr. Luke fired back with a defamation and breach of contract lawsuit. It claimed she “shamelessly elevated a garden variety contract disagreement to an entirely new level by raising disgusting, fictitious allegations.”
That lawsuit claimed that Kesha and her family had expressed “profound gratitude and admiration” for everything he’d done for her career. In a birthday card Dr. Luke filed as an exhibit in the suit, Kesha wrote, “Thank you 4 making my wildest dreams come true!”
Moreover, in separate litigation brought by her former manager in 2010, Kesha testified that Dr. Luke had never made a sexual advance towards her, according to his complaint.
On Friday, Dr. Luke won a legal victory when the New York judge rejected Kesha’s request to break free of her contract during the dispute.
“You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry,” the judge said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “My instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing.”
We reached out to Kesha’s lawyer for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
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