Musics biggest female superstars back singers legal combat to free herself from contract with producer she alleges was her abuser
Six years ago, it looked like nothing could touch Kesha Sebert. Swaggering through her debut music video, the vocalist known then just as Ke$ ha woke up in a bathtub feeling like P Diddy, wiping heavy kohl from her eyes and swigging Jack Daniels. As she said herself at the time: Im not a submissive, perfect pop princess, thats for damned sure.
But fast forward to 2016 and this once gutsy female sat sobbing, pallid and vulnerable at the back of New York courtroom as a judge denied national courts injunction that would have allowed the singer to sever ties with her record label Kemosabe a subsidiary of Sony and free her from the six album contract she is committed to. Following the verdict, Kesha said: All I ever wanted was to be able to attain music without being afraid, scared or abused.
The 28 -year-old, once tip-off as the next Lady Gaga, instead find herself at the centre of a legal battle in which she alleges she suffered 10 years as a victim of mental manipulation, emotional abuse and an instance of sexual assault at the hands of her mentor and long-time music producer Lukasz Gottwald, better know as Dr Luke, who founded Kemosabe. He vigorously denies all the allegations.
The judges ruling has caused uproar. Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Jessica Chastain and Lorde have all pledged their is supportive of Keshas attempt to contractually free herself from individual producers she alleges was also her abuser. When I find the outcome of Keshas court case last Friday, I felt sick, wrote Lena Dunham in a lengthy essay criticising the route the legal system treated such rape asserts; Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to help with Keshas legal expenses; and Adele dedicated her first prize of the night at Wednesdays Brit awards to the vocalist. The suit has evidently brought to the surface long-simmering issues about sexism at the core of the music industry.
In recently released tribunal newspapers filed in 2014, Kesha claims that after signing a contract with Dr Luke when she was 18, she was subjected to abuse that left her break, damaged and traumatised, including being plied with date rape drugs. On one occasion, the lawsuit reports that Ms Sebert took the pills and woke up the following afternoon, naked in Dr Lukes bed, sore and sick, with no memory of how she got there. The singer claims she was too scared to report the abuse to the police. In the instance, which has yet to come to trial, Dr Luke faces eight charges including sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment and gender violence.
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