Why the Case Between Dr. Luke and Ke$ha Reveals Broader Issues in Sexual Assault Cases

By Clarissa Speyer-Stocks

CatlinSpeak (Portland, Oregon)

At just 18 years old, popstar Kesha Rose Sebert or Ke$ha was discovered by Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, better known as Dr. Luke the songwriter and producer, and signed her first contract with Sony. Kesha is now 28, and after 10 years of alleged sexual, physical, and emotional abuse from Gottwald, Kesha is suing the prolific songwriter to end her contract with Sony so she may continue making music without working with Dr. Luke.

In 2014, she filed the first claim to have Gottwald brought to court for his alleged crimes. Gottwald worked with Ke$ha to co-write nearly all of her songs. He is also the writer behind “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus, “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson, “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry, “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne, and many other hits from the past decade of mainstream pop history.

Allegedly, Gottwald had been forcibly making sexual advances towards her since she first signed with him. She claimed that he often forced her to take drugs and alcohol in order to coerce her to commit sexual acts.

The suit states multiple instances where Gottwald allegedly assaulted Kesha. Kesha allegedly woke up naked in Gottwald’s bed unable to remember how she got there. Hersuit claims “Ms. Sebert immediately called her mother and made a ‘fresh complaint,’ telling her that she was naked in Dr. Luke’s hotel room, she did not know where her clothes were, that Dr. Luke had raped her, and that she needed to go to the emergency room,”

The lawsuit also claims that, “Ms. Sebert later learned that the ‘sober pills’ Dr. Luke had given her were actually a form of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), more commonly known as the date rape drug, allowing him to bring Ms. Sebert back to his hotel room alone and rape her while she was unconscious.”

Gottwald denies all of these allegations and accused the pop star of extortion and stated that this isn’t the first time she has tried to blackmail him with false allegations. Gottwald sued Kesha’s mother, Pebe Sebert for defamation and slander. But ultimately lost the case in NY. Because of this, the internet rejoiced assuming that the entire fight was over, but in reality it had just begun for Kesha.

Since the case against her mother and manager was dismissed, Kesha has been fighting to terminate her contract with Sony so that she may continue to make music, write, and record without her alleged abuser, Gottwald.

Kesha posted a statement on facebook about the case on Feb. 24 saying, “All I ever wanted was to be able to make music without being afraid, scared, or abused. This case has never been about a renegotiation of my record contract – it was never about getting a bigger, or a better deal. This is about being free from my abuser. I would be willing to work with Sony if they do the right thing and break all ties that bind me to my abuser.”

Many are blaming Kesha, wondering why she didn’t turn to the police or come forward earlier. For example, daytime talk show host Wendy Williams commented on how she believed the situation was used to help Kesha leave Sony and move on to better opportunities. Williams stated on her show,  “If everybody complained because somebody allegedly sexually abused them…contracts would be broken all the time…Kesha’s no spring chicken. I mean she’s like, 30 years old?…So she wasn’t stupid 10 years ago and neither was her mother when the sexual abuse—alleged sexual abuse—started, why weren’t they rolling camera on it?”

The New York Supreme Court ruled that Kesha must continue her contract with Sony, and work with her alleged abuser.

Gottwald’s lawyer, Christine Lepera said in a statement, “As the Court recognized, Ms. Sebert has always had the ability to proceed with her career if she so chooses. “We remain confident that when all the facts are presented that Ms. Sebert’s allegations against Luke will be shown to be completely false and were asserted solely to extort money and gain contractual leverage.”

Ke$ha cries in court after her case to allow her to record without Gottwald and Sony. (Flickr: Scandal News)

Ke$ha cries in court after her case to allow her to record without Gottwald and Sony. (Flickr: Scandal News)

The judge for the case, Justice Shirley Kornreich, decided that Kesha will have to continue recording with Gottwald. The judge recommended that the singer refrain from interacting with the producer and co-creator of Sony Records in order to make music with the label. The judge was quoted in Page Sixsaying, “She’s being given the opportunity to record, she can record. She does not have to have any interface at all with Mr. Gottwald in recording or producing.”

Since this ruling many celebrities have voiced their support for Kesha, including Demi Lovato, Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Lorde, and Lady Gaga. Similarly, Taylor Swift has not verbally confirmed her support, but donated $250,000 to Kesha’s legal fund.

Since the ruling on Kesha’s contract on Feb.19, the sexual assault case against Gottwald has been put on hold until further notice.

Photo Credit: CatlinSpeak

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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