Imagine this: You go to work in a state of anxiety, worried about entering the building in safety, worried about how your income is decreasing, how your life has been changed in a bad way. Most of your adulthood has been living in fear due to the presence of a co-worker.
This is the type of life Kesha Rose Sebert (stage name: Ke$ha) has been living for 11 years. When Kesha was 18 years old, her virginity was taken by Luke Gottwald (goes by Dr. Luke), her 31 year old producer at the time. Dr. Luke allegedly took Kesha to a birthday party for Paris Hilton’s younger sister, Nicky Hilton. At some point, he gave her a drug that caused her to black out. Kesha’s lawyers claim that when he raped her, he threatened to ruin her career if she told anyone. Kesha and Dr. Luke are in the midst of an ongoing lawsuit. On Friday, February 19, a New York court denied her bid for a preliminary injunction. For those of you who don’t understand law jargon, preliminary injunction means an injunction entered by a court prior to a final determination of the merits of a legal case, in order to restrain a party from going ahead with a course of conduct or compelling a party to continue with a course of conduct until the case has been decided (courtesy of Google). Here is the famous picture of Kesha during the court hearing,
Although what we see is what we want to believe, there is also the other side of spectrum. Last month, PEOPLE magazine obtained a video from a source close to Luke of a 2011 deposition in which Kesha said “Dr. Luke never made sexual advances at me.” (Kesha’s attorney, Mark Geragos, reissued a statement, calling the leaked testimony “a pathetic attempt to once again blame his victim.”)
She also claims he once physically attacked her at his Malibu house, forcing her to flee barefoot down a coastal highway littered with broken glass. Kesha claims the abuse caused her to suffer from depression and bulimia nervosa so debilitating that she entered in-patient rehab in January.
According to Kelly Clarkson, who has worked with Dr. Luke previously, Dr. Luke isn’t a good character, “He’s a talented dude but he’s just lied a lot,” she said. “I’ve run into a couple really bad situations. Musically, it’s been really hard for me because he will just lie to people. It’s like ‘What?’ It makes the artist look bad. He’s difficult to work with, kind of demeaning, it’s kind of unfortunate. People are like well you’ve worked with Max [Martin] and Luke and I’m like Max and Luke are very different. Obviously the dude is a talented guy but character-wise, no. I only worked with him – even the last time I worked with him – because literally I got blackmailed by my label. They were like we will not put your album out if you don’t do this.” (Quote courtesy of the EW article)
Here’s what Dr. Luke had to say about all this:
“Until now I haven’t commented on the lawsuits, which should be resolved in court not here on Twitter. It’s a shame that there’s so much speculation out there basing itself on so little information. The only truly objective person who knows the facts is the judge. The judge did not rule in Kesha’s favor on Friday. I understand why people without all the information are speaking out. I can appreciate their compassion. But lives can get ruined when there’s a rush to judgment before all the facts come out. Look what happened at UVA, Duke etc. of course any sane person is against rape and sexual assault but everybody who is commenting is doing so without knowledge or facts. They are getting behind an allegation only – motivated by money. I didn’t rape Kesha and I have never had sex with her. Kesha and I were friends for many years and she was like my little sister. Kesha has denied under oath the horrible allegations now being made against me. Here is the testimony:
Mark Geragos (kesha’s attorney) represented Scott Peterson and Chris Brown. How can he pretend he cares about women’s rights? I have 3 sisters, a daughter, and a son with my girlfriend, and a feminist mom who raised me right. It’s sad that she would turn a contract negotiation into something so horrendous and untrue.But I feel confident when this is over the lies will be exposed and the truth will prevail..” – Dr Luke
Numerous celebrities, from Lady Gaga to Demi Lovato to Taylor Swift to Lena Dunham, have shown their support for Kesha with tweets.
Lena Dunham: “I think about young girls today — I don’t want my future daughter — or your future daughter — or any person to be afraid that they will be punished if they speak out about being abused, especially if their abuser is in a position of power,” she wrote. “Unfortunately I don’t think that my case is giving people who have been abused confidence that they can speak out, and that’s a problem.”
Demi Lovato: “#FreeKesha (trending tweet regarding Kesha’s court case) this is only gonna make you stronger, you brave and beautiful girl. Prayers are with you @KeshaRose. Frustrating to see women come forward with their past only to be shot down, not believed & disrespected for their bravery in taking action. Happens way too. I’m ready for women to be taken just as seriously as men.. Someone tell me why anyone would ever feel brave enough to come forward if they are most likely to be ignored or called a liar. I’m also ready for self-proclaimed feminists to start speaking out or taking action for women’s rights.Women empowerment is speaking up for other women even when it’s something uncomfortable to speak up about. Women empowerment is using your voice to help the voiceless women be heard. Women empowerment is taking action now, not when it’s convenient. Women empowerment is leading other women to make actual changes in our society. Women empowerment is tweeting at 2:30 am knowing the consequences of these tweets and not giving a single fuck. Okay I’m really tired.. Going to bed. Love you all. #equalityforALL (not just women).”
Taylor Swift gave $250,000 to cover Kesha’s legal fees without saying anything publicly. This act stirred controversy in Demi Lovato’s eyes. Her indrect tweet about Taylor Swift said, “Take something to Capitol Hill or actually speak about something and then I’ll be impressed.” Many fans and bystanders were not happy with Demi, claiming that Demi is making the situation about herself, deviating attention from the real problem at hand. Demi, again, spoke out, “How the fuck am I making this about myself? At least I’m talking about it. Not everyone has 250k to just give to people. Would love to but I didn’t grow up with money and def haven’t made as much as her [referring to Taylor Swift]. At least I speak up about shit that’s uncomfortable to talk about rather than trying to politically correct 24/7. There’s no ‘rivalry’ I just give more fucks than other people and would rather start a dialogue ABOUT WOMEN COMING FORWARD ABOUT BEING RAPED than throw money at one person. I didn’t shade Taylor. If you take it that way then fine. I’m just tired of seeing women use ‘women empowerment’ and ‘feminism’ to further brands without actually being the ones that have the uncomfortable conversations. I get shade and I don’t give a fuck because someone has to be the one to take it. At least I’m getting my hands dirty.” Along with Demi’s long statement, people have also bashed Taylor for publicly announcing the fact that she gave $250,000 to Kesha, believing that if she was really humble or actually cared, she wouldn’t have shared that information to the public.
Lady Gaga: “I think that people should just know that there’s so much more than what meets the eye in a case like that,” said Gaga, 29, who has opened up about being raped at 19 by someone in the industry.” I feel like she’s being very publicly shamed for something that happens in the music industry all the time, to women and men. I just want to stand by her side because I can’t watch another woman that went through what I’ve been through suffer.”
Gaga goes on to say, “We’re going to shake the tree until that leaf that has Kesha on it falls. I care about her,” she said, comparing the music industry to other occupations. “In any other business, if you were to report that anything happened to you to the human resources department, it would be dealt with. But we don’t have a human resources department, we don’t have a union as artists, we’re just fighting for ourselves. If we don’t stick together, our voices just won’t be heard.”
Not only did she say this, she gave a performance dedicated to Kesha about the situation. If you would like to see it, click the following link:
Along with that video, I would suggest listening to this haunting song that Kesha created about Dr. Luke that was “accidentally” leaked. The reason it was “accidental” was because if she were to officially release it, the song would have to go past Dr. Luke, who would clearly shut down Kesha’s self expression. Please listen to the entire song, you’ll understand why I described the song as haunting.
Lastly, before you go, here are some questions to think about:
- Whose side are you on, Kesha’s or Dr. Luke’s?
I know there isn’t a sufficient amount of evidence for Kesha’s stance, but you wonder, why would she lie about it? She did say that she would continue to work with Sony’s company if they got rid of Dr. Luke… She has money, so there’s no practical reason other than she was raped.
2. If you had a high platform, would do anything to call attention to the situation? If so, what exactly could/would you do?
It’s easy to tell other to speak out about issues, but it could cause them to lose fans because some of these topics are so controversial.
3. Are you on Taylor, Demi, or neither side of the Speaking out argument?
A quick refresher, Taylor didn’t speak out, rather she gave money to cover Kesha’s legal fees, whereas Demi says you should speak out to help millions rather than say nothing and pay one to pay off the issue. Or, are you neither because you would rather focus on the actual issue than have to worry about the other two singers.
4. Do you think that there should be a legal change about rape cases?
There is a huge debate going on currently on changing the legal system when it comes to rape. Do we always believe that alleged victim or do we have to spend time investigating because they might have an ulterior motive?
If you’d like to read more about rape in legal systems:
Be informed 🙂