If you've paid any attention to the news lately, you've probably heard about the legal nightmare Kesha has been in. For those who don't know, allow me to fill you in.
In 2014, Kesha sued her producer, Dr. Luke, claiming that he "sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused" her over the course of 10 years, which she felt had "put her life at risk." She claimed that Dr. Luke started making sexual advances at her when she turned 18 and forced her drugs and alcohol to lower her inhibitions. Dr. Luke later filed his own lawsuit against her, claiming defamation and breach of contract. His suit claimed that Kesha's suit is part of a "campaign of publishing outrageous and untrue statements."
Since then, it's been a back and forth legal war between the two artists. The lawsuits have essentially stalled Kesha's career because she refuses to record any new material unless Dr. Luke steps back. Signing with another label is out of the question because they won't take her for fear of being sued as well. So now, as her attorney put it when she filed for an injunction, "Kesha now faces an abysmal decision: work with her alleged abuser…or idly and passively wait as her career tick-tocks away."
Last Saturday, that battle came to a head when a Manhattan judge denied her that injunction. "You're asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry," the judge said to the defense during the hearing. After hearing arguments from Dr. Luke's attorneys that he invested $60 million of his own money into her career, the judge said, "My instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing."
The bottom line of that last statement is that Kesha can not escape working for someone who has emotionally and physically abused them because he's spent too much money on her. In that one statement, the judge basically belittled a broken, traumatized woman into an abusive man's object, something that he can't just give up. That is disgusting logic, but unfortunately, it isn't surprising.
Our society has a very perverse way at looking at celebrities, and the way we look at female artists is even worse. How is it that we, as a society, can allow Chris Brown to keep working in the industry while Kesha's career is left hanging in the balance? Why should she not be allowed to continue to be successful in her career and break away from the man who essentially drove her into an eating disorder? Is it really easy enough to let Zayn leave One Direction because he didn't like it but too much effort to let Kesha get away from the person who's been abusing her for years? That's absolutely shameful, and it says a lot more about us as a society than it does about Dr. Luke.
This isn't just a case about another ditzy blonde getting back at an ex for money. Kesha is incredibly smart; she got a 1500 on her SATs and has an IQ of more than 140. It's also inaccurate and ignorant to claim that she's lying about the whole thing. Nobody simply makes up 10 years of physical and psychological abuse and sobs in a court room when they lose because they feel like it. What Kesha is doing is brave and defiant, and it's something many young women in abusive relationships only dream of doing. It's a disgrace that we're not taking her seriously.
Thankfully, many big names have publicly shown support for Kesha, including Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson and Lily Allen, and the hashtag #FreeKesha is trending all over. But real change can only happen when we start to support women who are trying to speak out against their abuse. If someone is crying for help, please help them. Imagine how hard it is to find the courage to try and put a stop to your suffering, only for others to tell you to ignore you, or worse, attack you.
We've already failed Kesha. The least we can do for her, and for abused women everywhere, is to show them that they don't have to face this alone.