It’s not unusual to grapple with issues of sexism and harassment in the entertainment industry. Nevertheless, these systemic injustices should never be ignored or thrown under the rug to avoid conflict with the business side of a career. In recent months, pop singer Kesha has publicly accused music producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald with allegations including sexual and emotional abuse, including rape.
Unfortunately, Kesha is still currently under contract with Sony Music, even after her opening up to the public about her experiences. Making the decision to hold Dr. Luke responsible for his actions is an extremely brave feat, considering we live in a legal system that is unsympathetic to both victims of rape and sexual assault.
When the accusations made against him were made public, Dr. Luke was quick to deny all statements made by Kesha as well as attempt to depict her as a liar.
The response and action taken by Sony has been extremely disappointing, but unfortunately, not shocking.
Respecting and giving equal rights to women in the workplace is still a vaguely new concept, are women are constantly given less power to stand up for themselves.
Women are often shut down and have their opinions delegitimized by people whose primary interest is profit. The shock following Sony’s insensitive response to the serious situation led several artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Adele to come out and publicly support Kesha, along with criticizing Sony for their passive stance on the matter.
During her acceptance speech at the BRIT Awards last month, Adele took the opportunity to thank her manager and record label for embracing the fact that she’s a woman and for encouraging her. Before exiting the stage, Adele made a point to say she publicly supports Kesha during this painful and frustrating process.
It’s extremely discouraging a large-scale scandal such as this is still not enough evidence that women are being taken advantage of. Whether it be in the workplace orin day-to-day life, the abuser gets off with little damage to his record a majority of the time.
The decision to take cases such as these to court is a difficult process. Oftentimes the verdict is not in favor of the abused, which is quite honestly a major embarrassment to our legal system.
A New York judge denied Kesha’s motion for an injunction to leave her contract, claiming the story was unconvincing and there was no solid evidence. Sony Music and Dr. Luke are under the impression that these false allegations are being used to extort a contract renegotiation and money. The producer stands by his statement that he isn’t responsible for the acts for which he’s been accused.
Dr. Luke also took to Twitter in an attempt to clear his name, proclaiming that “Kesha and I made a lot of songs together and it was often good but there were creative differences at times. It’s sad that she would turn a contract negotiation into something so horrendous and untrue.”
Sony has made it clear that until this matter is fully resolved, Kesha cannot work with music producers, publishers or record labels to release new music. Currently, there are too many rumors to know whether or not Sony will be dropping Dr. Luke, but his lawyer made a statement claiming that he has an “excellent relationship with Sony. His representative is in regular contact with executives at the highest level at Sony, and this has never come up.”
It’s unlikely that Kesha would go through so much public trauma and scrutiny solely to get out of her contract, but hopefully the truth will come to light in the coming weeks.