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When Is Someone Who is “Free”…Not?

In less than a calendar day, Kesha both moved forward and backward in her ongoing legal struggles against Dr. Luke.

For ages, it was the rallying cry of Dr. Luke’s attorneys that Kesha was free to do whatever she wanted, including tour, record or release songs, without the oversight of the producer she’s accused of raping and abusing her. However, it was announced on Tuesday that Kesha will no longer be performing as part of the Billboard Music Awards on May 22.

Why the sudden change of heart? Because Kemosabe Records, Dr. Luke’s imprint on Sony Music, has revoked approval for the performance based on rumors, suspicion, call it what you will, that Kesha would reference the legal issues during her time on stage.

In a statement provided to Billboard magazine, Dick Clark productions, which organizes the show, says “Kesha accepted an invitation to perform on the show and she received written approval from Dr. Luke’s record label, Kemosabe Records. Kemosabe subsequently rescinded its approval following a media report on Wednesday, May 11, regarding Kesha’s appearance on the BBMAs. Unfortunately, Kesha and Kemosabe have since been unable to come to an agreement for Kesha to perform on the show.” The production company remains optimistic, however, that the matter will be resolved in time for her to make an appearance.

The initial report referenced here seems to be from TMZ, which reported last week first that Kesha dedicated her performance of Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens to You” in LA to “every man, woman, child and animal that has ever been used.” TMZ, in a subsequent article, cited “sources close to Kesha” as saying she intended to make “direct references to her ongoing legal battle with Dr. Luke” during the Billboard Awards, “and might even include images of him.”

Anyone taking bets on Kesha appearing at that ceremony? My money’s on no.

In the meantime, also on Tuesday, it was reported that Kesha was looking into the possibility of reopening her lawsuit against Dr. Luke in California, where she had originally filed legal action against him.

As reported by, Kesha’s new legal team is weighing its options.

Kesha recently filed paperwork to replace her lead council, Mark Geragos, with a new team. The judge in this case, Barbara Scheper, is “surprised” by this intended action, because “the judge planned to completely dismiss the California case as a result of developments in the court in New York.”

The “developments” in New York, of course, include Judge Shirley Kornreich of the New York State Supreme Court throwing out some, if not most, of the claims Kesha filed against Dr. Luke. This is the same judge who initially denied Kesha an injunction against the producer in January.

Although Dr. Luke (real name Lukasz Gottwald) allegedly abused Kesha, her claims “do not allege that Gottwald harbor animus toward woman or was motivated by gender animus when he allegedly behaved violently toward Kesha,” Kornreich said back in April. “Every rape is not a gender-motivated crime.” The judge also ruled, at the time, that Kesha’s accusations that Dr. Luke violated her individual rights by raping and abusing her cannot go forward because they do not meet the high legal standard for “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” the Associated Press reported Kornriech as saying at the time. “Her claims of insults about her value as an artist, her looks and her weight are insufficient to constitute extreme, outrageous conduct intolerable in a civilized society.”

Scheper, the judge in California, is reported to have warned Kesha’s new attorney that trying to use the same arguments in her courtroom would be a waste of time. “I was going to invite a motion for the court to dismiss this action,” she reportedly said. “If you just present the same arguments to me, that’s not going to be well taken.” The next hearing in this case is currently scheduled for June 15.


Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 523 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

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