A New York State Supreme Court judge ruled against releasing pop star Kesha out of an exclusive six-album contract with Kemosabe Records on Friday. Kesha’s suit included claims of sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse against the head of Kemosabe Records, Lukasz Gottwald, also known as Dr. Luke. Regardless of legal logistics, Kesha’s case has also incited much dialogue surrounding rape culture in today’s society. With recent stories surrounding sexual assault and consent politics, especially on college campuses, Kesha’s case affirms why a majority of abuse victims choose not to report assault. Taking into consideration the ugly stigma already unjustly associated with rape survivors, rarely is there ever a situation in which justice is served in favor of the victim.
Kesha’s case began in October 2014, when she officially filed suit against Dr. Luke and Kemosabe Records. Kesha also stated that Dr. Luke’s abuse was so severe that she “nearly lost her life,” according to Rolling Stone. Kemosabe Records, a sub-label of Sony Music Entertainment, has been run exclusively by Dr. Luke since 2011. In addition to his work on Kesha’s last two albums, Dr. Luke is also known for his collaborations with Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Pink and many more. Dr. Luke also holds a large amount of power in the industry, thus complicating the case.
In a society that not-so-unconsciously sympathizes with the abuser, it is understandable why so many incidents go unreported. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, also known as RAINN, a whopping 68 percent of sexual assault goes unreported to the police. In this same study, it was reported that 98 percent of rapists would never spend a day in jail. It seems that victims must go to extraordinary lengths to be taken seriously. Part of the reasoning behind the court’s decision was insufficient evidence to corroborate Kesha’s claims. However, what most fail to realize is that rape and sexual abuse are often spotless crimes, making it nearly impossible to provide concrete evidence.
In addition to invalidating Kesha’s claims, this ruling also forces her to work exclusively with Dr. Luke, according to the initial contract. This decision forces Kesha to remain in an environment in which she feels degraded and unsafe. In essence, the court’s decision dehumanizes Kesha. In this realm of legal battles and contracts, Kesha is treated as a conglomerate or brand name, almost as if her entity created by the entertainment industry is her only identity.
Regardless of the court’s decision, Kesha’s support continues to build among the public. The issue has also sparked a whirlwind of controversy via social media. The hashtag #FreeKesha was created by fans to show their support to release Kesha from her contract with Kemosabe Records, as well as a GoFundMe campaign to raise $2 million dollars to buy Kesha out of her Sony contract. Celebrities in support of Kesha include Fiona Apple, Margaret Cho and Taylor Swift, with Swift donating $250,000 toward buying out Kesha’s Sony contract. On Tuesday, Kesha released her first statement since the court’s ruling via Instagram. She stated, “Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. A million times over and forever thank you.”
The battle doesn’t seem to be over, either. Taking into consideration the torrential amount of support Kesha has already received, Kesha’s freedom may be attainable. Her case paints a very real picture of not only abuse in the entertainment industry, but also a greater antagonistic attitude toward sexual assault victims.