Last weekend while driving back to school from my boyfriend’s home in New York, I asked him for his thoughts on what was going on with Kesha. We often share our opinions on current events and our different—often opposite—opinions make for lively conversations. Whenever we have one of these conversations, he loves to play Devil’s advocate, especially when it something I’m truly passionate about. With this issue, he did just that.
Last Friday, Kesha was denied an injunction that would have allowed her break her contract with her producer, Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, and Sony Music. She alleges that Dr. Luke raped and emotionally and physically abused her. However, Sony Music offered to let Kesha work with a different producer under Dr. Luke’s label. But this isn’t enough. Kesha wants to sever all ties with Dr. Luke, and for good reason.
I italicized alleges for a reason; this is where his playing of Devil’s advocate comes in. Dr. Luke was never found guilty of raping and abusing Kesha. From a legal standpoint, Sony Music has no obligation to allow Kesha to terminate her contract. In the United States, we operate under the premise of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Everyone, from shoplifters to serial killers, has this right. You can kill someone in broad daylight with a hundred witnesses and must still be presumed innocent until proven guilty. This is what makes our legal system so great, and also so terrible. Kesha’s case on Friday was not about deciding whether or not Dr. Luke had raped and abused her—it was simply about determining if she had the legal grounds to terminate her contract with Kemosabe Records, Dr. Luke’s label that is a subsidiary of Sony Music. And according to the judge, she just didn’t.
My heart breaks for Kesha, for having her ordered to churn out six more albums with the man who she so obviously fears. In 2014, Kesha filed charges against Dr. Luke, citing that Dr. Luke had not only raped her, but given her “sober pills,” shattered her self-image, given her an eating disorder and forced her into rehab. However, thanks to our wondering and speedy justice system, her case will not be heard in a court of law until January 2017, nearly three years after she filed the charges.
Several world-famous stars have spoken out in support of Kesha, including Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Lorde, and Taylor Swift, who even pledged to donate $250,000 to help Kesha with legal fees. My tiny, insignificant piece of advice to Kesha is this: you will overcome this. You have already shown how strong you are—keep fighting this fight. Win your battle come next January, do not give up. Band together with the artists who have supported you, make amazing music with them. In ten years, who do you want to be remembered as? The artist who was raped and disappeared, no longer sharing her gift with her fans? Or, as the artist who was raped, took down her abuser, and became a role model for those who are afraid to speak out?
If you or someone you know is or was a victim of sexual abuse, please call 800-656-HOPE (4673), and you’ll be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. Or, visit online.rainn.org to chat one-on-one with a trained support specialist, any time, 24/7.