So What’s The Deal With #FreeKesha?

It’s been three long, glitter-less years since we’ve heard any new music from beloved pop star Kesha. Recently there have been a lot of questions about where she is, what’s she’s doing and why she’s been MIA for so long. In 2014, Kesha filed lawsuits against her producer, Dr. Luke alleging that he had sexually assaulted her and emotionally abused her throughout her career working with him.  It all started in 2005 when Lukasz Gottwald signed Kesha. Since then, eleven years later, their contract has not been renegotiated or changed, which truthfully, is somewhat unheard of for such a successful artist.

In October of 2014 Kesha filed lawsuits against Dr. Luke for sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and more.  In her complaint filed with the City of Los Angeles, Kesha documents that she was encouraged around the age of 18 to drop out of school and move to Los Angeles so that Dr. Luke could help to make her successful. Despite her “trashy, auto-tuned, party-girl” aura that has been fed to the public, Kesha Sebert actually possesses incredible musical abilities and is incredibly intelligent. With near perfect SAT scores, enrollment in her high school’s IB program and an IQ over 140 Kesha is a “near genius.” She declared herself to be a songwriter before anything else and has written songs not only for herself but for other artists like Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, and Miley Cyrus.

Despite her immense talent and potential, Kesha remained under the creative control of producer Dr. Luke who continued to encourage production of her party music, regardless of her complete lack of enthusiasm and willingness to do so. In her claims, Kesha reports that shortly after her 18th birthday Dr. Luke drugged and raped her. She also reports that he would consistently emotionally abuse and manipulate her, keeping her spirits low so that she would not try to get out of her contract with him or tell anyone about the abuse she was going through. After attending rehab for bulimia nervosa – said to have been brought on by the stress, anxiety and depression that came from working with Dr. Luke, and filing lawsuits, Kesha claimed that she wanted to simply make music without Dr. Luke as she felt unsafe around him.

A trial that was originally supposed to be heard in January at a Los Angeles courthouse was postponed to be held in New York on February 19th. A preliminary injunction would have temporarily nullified Kesha’s contract with Dr. Luke and Sony, allowing her to make music without Dr. Luke. The night before the trial Kesha posted this message on her Instagram

“I have nothing left to hide. I did this because the truth was eating away my soul and killing me from the inside. this is not just for me. this is for every woman, every human who has ever been abused. sexually. emotionally. mentally. I had to tell the truth. so the outcome will be what it will be. there’s nothing left I can do. it’s just so scary to have zero control in your fate. but this is my path this life for whatever reason….”

On the morning of February 19th, a judge denied this injunction on the basis that her claims could not be upheld simply by the words of her lawyers. In other words, Kesha legally must work with Dr. Luke.

Although the judge did not dismiss the case entirely, fans and activists have been demanding that Sony and Dr. Luke “free Kesha.” At this point in time, if Kesha wishes to make music or perform, she must work with Dr. Luke. So why is this important? Much like other sexual assault cases,  it’s been said that Kesha’s promiscuity and “party-girl” vibes were used to discredit the validity of her claims. However, Kesha insists that her entire facade was created by Dr. Luke to accomplish just that. To make her feel powerless and hopeless and like she’d never be taken seriously. The conversations around this case are important because they bring to light the enormous doubt that victims face upon reporting their attacker. Questions always seem to revolve around what a person was wearing, whether they were sober, did they fight, did they actively say no etc, etc. Regardless of what a person wears, how they act, or how they’re perceived by society if a person is sexually assaulted, there were not asking for it, they did not deserve it and they deserve to be heard. For now, Kesha’s battle will continue and though it’s hard to imagine a person being able to go through all of that and still keep fighting, we’re certain that if anyone can do it – Kesha can.

Bailey Bryant

Editorial Contributor, Seattle University Majors: Political Science/Public Affairs Her heart belongs to: My family, faith and lazy days with my best friend. Her guilty pleasures: Warm & gooey brownies, fresh sushi, Bath & Body Works candles and Lush bath bombs

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