O’BRIEN | #FreeKesha: Victim-Blaming and Sexual Assault in the Music Industry

Last Friday, Kesha lost her legal battle for Sony to release her from her contractual obligation to her producer, Dr. Luke. Kesha claims that Dr. Luke drugged and raped her when she was 18 years old, and that he sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused her over a period of 10 years. New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich ruled that she was going to do the “commercially reasonable thing” and uphold the contract, telling Kesha that Doctor Luke’s $60 million investment in her career “decimates your argument.” The judge’s denial of Kesha’s request to obtain an injunction to break her contract was a devastating blow not only to Kesha’s emotional well-being — not to mention her career — but to the ability for other people who have been victims of sexual abuse in the music industry to come forward. Sony has argued that it should be enough for Kesha that they will allow her to record music without ever having to interact with Dr. Luke. But, as her music would still be under the control of Dr. Luke’s imprint, this leaves him in a position of power over Kesha — allowing him to profit from her sales or, alternatively, to take any number of actions to use his power to continue his abuse or enact revenge.

DUGGAL | Free Ke$ha?

Everyone has heard about Ke$ha through one facet or another. Recently, she’s been in the news for breaking down in a Manhattan courtroom after a judge refused to release her from a contract with a producer she claims sexually assaulted her. Twitter (and Taylor Swift) responded immediately with support for Ke$ha as she looks to a future of more legal battles, while Dr. Luke — or Lukasz Gottwald, Ke$ha’s current producer and alleged sexual predator — obviously responded with pretty much the direct opposite. Just like anything else in the news that involves high profile celebrities, legal battles and an uncertain future, there are a host of sides (and opinions) to what has occurred and what should occur moving forward. As simplified as most media outlets may have it sound in presenting it to the public, Ke$ha’s case is not as straightforward as “Ke$ha vs.