What’s happening to Kesha

A judge denies Kesha’s attempt to get out of her contract with Kermosabe Records (Sony), the label founded by producer Dr. Luke whom she accused of sexual abuse in 2014.

Kesha, whose full name is Kesha Rose Sebert, is an American pop star of international fame. She achieved success in 2009 with her song TiK ToK and now has two albums to her credits: the last one, entitled Warrior, came out in 2012 and while the singer was on tour to promote it, she was obliged to call off some of the dates because she went to rehab for an eating disorder (early January 2014).


Kesha dr.luke
Kesha and Dr. Luke at the 28° ASCAP Pop Music Awards on 27 April 2011 in Los Angeles, California.


In 2013 the pop star had already reported an acrimonious relationship with Dr. Luke – stage name of Łukasz Sebastian Gottwald – one of the most famous American producers, who also worked with Katy PerryBritney Spears and Nicki Minaj: she accused him of threatening her artistic freedom, but mostly of maintaining control over her life, insulting, threatening, blackmailing and emotionally abusing her. Kesha’s fan base went into action launching an online petition called #FreedomForKesha.


The lawsuit against Dr. Luke

After the end of the rehabilitation period in the Timberline Knolls centre, the singer’s mother confirmed that her daughter had started suffering from nervous bulimia in 2005, when at the age of eighteen she had signed her contract with Dr. Luke. Kesha’s doctors at the rehab centre also exposed themselves saying that: “Dr. Luke had physically and psychologically damaged Ms. Sebert to the point where continuing such contact would be ‘life threatening’ to Ms. Sebert”.


In October 2014 Kesha decided to sue the producer and apply for an injunction to nullify her contract with Dr. Luke’s label. She provided disconcerting details about his abuses saying that Dr. Luke forced her to taking drugs and alcohol in order to sexually abuse her. Successively, Kesha also denounced the Sony Music Entertainment company, which, according to her, is responsible for what happened since it knew the facts.


The sentence: Kesha can’t get out of her contract

On 19 February 2016 a judge denied Kesha’s attempt to rescind her contract without addressing the sexual abuse issue. The judge explained the court ruling highlighting that accepting Kesha’s request would be against the laws of the State that discipline the contracts, adding that “there has been no showing of irreparable harm” on the alleged abuse.



After the verdict was announced, Kesha burst into tears at the court. Kesha’s says that her career is irreparably damaged because it is objectively impossible for her to pursue it given that she’s subject to a contract that was signed more than ten years ago and never renegotiated.


I know I cannot work with Dr. Luke. I physically cannot. I don’t feel safe in any way.






The sentence was strongly criticised and many singers expressed their solidairty with Kesha: Lady Gaga, Lorde and Ariana Grande supported the new online petition #Freekesha on Twitter; Taylor Swift also donated 250,000 dollars as a contribution to the legal actions. The US star system is standing next to Kesha.


Dr. Luke’s replies

Two days after the sentence, the producer made some statements on Twitter, where he says that he’s stranger to the singer’s accusations and is a victim of the defamatory statement of Kesha’s family that wants more substantial revenues. On its part, Sony claimed that Dr. Luke would have encouraged Kesha to work on a new album without him (while the singer stated that Sony threatened her that it wouldn’t promote a new album if she didn’t produce it with Dr. Luke).


It’s a thorny situation that is not finished yet. One thing is certain: Kesha’s career plummeted rapidly in the past few years and now it is at a standstill. Even Jim Urie, who was president of Universal Music Group Distribution, testified on behalf of Kesha saying: “If Kesha cannot immediately resume recording and having her music promoted, marketed, and distributed by a major label, her career is effectively over.”

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