The #FreeKesha movement has gained quite a lot of momentum now that the court has ruled in favor of Sony and its original contract with Kesha. If you’ve been living under a rock, Kesha Rose Sebert (formerly known as Ke$ha) has released numerous hits such as “TiK ToK,” “We R Who We R,” and, most recently, featured in Pitbull’s “Timber,” which hit #1 on the billboards. The singer-songwriter has been in a contract with Sony and producer Dr. Luke ( Lukasz Gottwald) since she was 17 and is contractually obligated to produce six more albums with them. That’s where things get dicey.
According to an article in Rolling Stone, Kesha made claims that Dr. Luke had abused her for nearly ten years and had also drugged, raped, and verbally and physically threatened her in numerous other ways. In 2014, she checked into rehab for an eating disorder caused by the harmful criticisms made by Dr. Luke. Despite the power he held over her in their work relationship, Kesha took the matter to the courts, suing Dr. Luke and Kemosabe records (owned by Sony) in order to free herself from her contract. Dr. Luke sued her right back, claiming that Kesha had damaged his reputation.
The court ruled in favor of Sony, stating that she was an important asset for the company, and upheld the contract. Kesha broke down in the courtroom with the knowledge that she would be forced to continue working, in at least some form, with her abuser. While Sony has not fired Dr. Luke, another asset for them, they have offered to have Kesha record without him.
Celebrities took to Twitter along with the general population with #FreeKesha. Singers that have worked with Dr. Luke in the past have also taken Kesha’s side. Most notably, Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to Kesha to use however she needs, whether that means legal fees or keeping herself afloat while she weighs her two options: stop producing music or continue to work with a company that has done little to help her.
The #FreeKesha movement, though, has been taken in part as something much larger. It has brought about a strong wave of feminist sentiments. Whether or not you agree with the court’s decision (it was, after all, from a strictly legal standpoint), the abuse of Dr. Luke over the last decade is representative of a much greater problem facing women in America. Kesha’s abuser appears to be facing no consequences outside of general defamation, but Kesha is forced to continue working under the company that allowed such abuse to take place. Many women that fall victim to sexual assaults remain silent in a world that too often questions and criticizes their claims rather than taking them at face value. Kesha’s is simply a case that has received media attention.