Getting your day in court is supposed to give you chance to take the stand and speak for yourself. Ideally, you walk away empowered and secure in the knowledge that right has won out.
Unfortunately, this did not come to pass for Kesha. On February 19, the pop star entered the court to break a contract with Sony that forced her to work with a man who allegedly raped and assaulted her. By the end of the day, the contract remained firmly in place, and Kesha's future as a performer was murkier than ever. Here's what you need to know about how this court case came to pass and what it means for the "Warrior" singer.
A History Of Violence
Why women, even as famous as Kesha, don't come forward about sexual assault https://t.co/A4oQbp7Lii
— Liz Heron (@lheron) February 19, 2016
Kesha began working with producer Dr. Luke (real name Luke Gottwald) back in 2006. Then 18, the singer signed what was a typical industry contract: an eight-album deal with Sony. It should have been the beginning of happy times for the young performer. But shortly after she turned 18, Kesha alleges that Dr. Luke drugged and raped her. This was only the beginning of what Kesha contends are 10 years of physical, emotional, and sexual assault at the hands of producer superstar Dr. Luke.
Taking A Stand
My heart is with @KeshaRose. — Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) February 19, 2016
After years of abuse, Kesha finally found the strength and courage to file a lawsuit against Dr. Luke and Sony. She stated that continuing to work with such an abusive person was traumatizing, and filed an injunction to allow her to end her contract with Sony. Kesha made it explicitly clear that she cannot physically be around the man, and that this is a matter of physical and emotional safety. But there are financial considerations to be made as well: as long as the contract remains in place, Kesha cannot make music with anyone but Sony, and by extension, the man who allegedly abused her for a decade.
#FreeKesha this is only gonna make you stronger, you brave and beautiful girl. Prayers are with you @KeshaRose — Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) February 20, 2016
This wasn't an easy decision for the rapper to make. Dr. Luke is widely considered one of the most powerful producers in the music industry, with countless hits under his belt. Kesha feared that speaking out against him would derail her career and leave her an outcast in the music industry. Additionally, Sony had a lot invested in Dr. Luke (and the money he brought in for the record label). But it eventually became too much for her to handle, and Kesha publicly plead for a chance to leave behind a painful past and make music on her own terms--free from the shadow of her abuser.
There are people all over the world who love you @KeshaRose. And I can say truly I am in awe of your bravery.
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) February 19, 2016
Unfortunately, things didn't turn out the way Kesha (and her legions of fans and famous supporters) had hoped; a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge rejected the request for an injunction that would have freed Kesha from the contract. Doing so would cause irreparable harm to Sony as a company, according to Judge Shirley Kornreich. That means that Kesha is bound to make six more albums with Sony (and by extension Dr. Luke). When the ruling was announced, the stunned singer broke down into tears.
Down But Not Out
thank you for all the support in my legal case animals. i love all of you. it's meant the world to me. xoxo pic.twitter.com/arHNPSxFs8 — kesha (@KeshaRose) February 18, 2016
Although Sony has publicly stated that Kesha does not have to work directly with Dr. Luke again, the singer has expressed concerns that they will push her album to the side in favor of supporting her accused abuser. Meanwhile, public opinion is very much on the rapper's side: the hashtags #FreeKesha and #BoycottSony have both been trending since the case concluded. And numerous famous stars have expressed their love and support for the suffering singer.
No Happy Ending
There's a quote, I believe from John Fogerty: "The music industry is so corrupt it makes Hollywood look like a charity organization." #Kesha — Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff) February 19, 2016
All of this may prove cold comfort to Kesha, who is (for the time being at least) trapped in a contract that binds her to a man that traumatized her and a company that stood by him. Her choices as of now are to work with Sony or not make music at all. Unless she can find a way out of this enforced hiatus and free herself from the laws that bind her to the record company, her career is effectively over.