Kesha had argued that to force her to continue working with Sony and her alleged abuser, producer Dr. Luke, was tantamount to "slavery".
A New York judge has dismissed Kesha’s motion to terminate her contract with Sony in the wake of the pop star’s allegations of sexual abuse against her former producer Dr. Luke.
Judge Shirley Kornreich refused to overrule an earlier verdict in February this year, after Kesha’s lawyers had argued that to keep her contract with Sony in place was tantamount to “slavery”. The judge also held that Sony’s offer for Kesha to continue to record with them – but without any involvement from Dr. Luke or the companies he effectively controls within the Sony structure.
Kesha leaving the New York State Supreme Court in February 2016
Kesha has said that she couldn’t continue working with a “monster” and is accusing the producer, real name Lukas Sebastian Gottwald, of raping her over a decade ago having given her a pill that knocked her out.
Her lawyers argued that their client was the victim of a hate crime after the original verdict two months ago refused the star an injunction that would have freed her from her contract, but Kornreich disagreed, saying there was no solid evidence to support that.
“There are no facts to support Gottwald’s animus toward women. Gottwald is alleged to have made offensive remarks about Kesha’s weight, appearance, and talent, not about women in general,” Kornreich wrote in her ruling. “Every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime.”
Also dismissed were the allegations that Gottwald emotionally abused her, including telling her to stop eating and telling her she was worthless, which Kesha says led her to a 2014 stint in rehab where she was diagnosed with bulimia, post-traumatic stress and panic attacks.
“Her claims of insults about her value as an artist, her looks, and her weight are insufficient to constitute ‘extreme, outrageous conduct intolerable in civil society’,” Kornreich continued. She also said that the New York Supreme Court had no jurisdiction in the case, as the alleged abuse happened in California (where Kesha is pursuing a similar case), and that in many cases the statute of limitations had already been exceeded for bringing such cases.
At the time of writing, Kesha’s lawyers have not reacted to the ruling, but it’s just one of a number of court proceedings, including one appealing against the decision not to free her from the Sony contract, with motions ongoing in Tennessee (where Kesha grew up) and California.
Gottwald has consistently denied the allegations, saying that the star has made them up in the hope of terminating her remaining deal to record five more albums, and is pursuing his own lawsuits against Kesha for breach of contract.