Kesha has been in the news recently, and not for her music. She has been openly fighting to get out of her contract with her producer, Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, otherwise known as Dr. Luke. Kesha claims that Gottwald had been sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally abusing her for the past several years, according to a February article in The New York Times.
In February, the news broke that the State Supreme Court in Manhattan decided that she must remain under her contract because her accusations had threatened the reputation of Gottwald’s label, Kasz Money, and its parent company, Sony Music Entertainment. According to Kesha, Gottwald had displayed professional misconduct, intimidation and prevention of Kesha’s control over her own music. (Key words here: her music.)
Fast forward to this past Sunday.
Kesha is still fighting her contract, even after the news of the court case died down in the media. She posted a photo to her Instagram account, @iiswhoiis. The photo displayed her hand, wrist and face, and she seemed to be smiling subtly while laying in bed. The caption, however, contrasted the delicate and comforting nature of the photo. She wrote, “so. I got offered my freedom IF i were to lie. I would have to APOLOGIZE publicly and say that I never got raped. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS behind closed doors. I will not take back the TRUTH. I would rather let the truth ruin my career than lie for a monster ever again.”
The announcement of Kesha’s potential freedom in exchange for a public apology and dismissal of her accusations against Gottwald is a clear indicator that whoever made the proposal knew there was more to the story than the court had ruled upon. The unknown person or people offered her an ultimatum — freedom and lies or truth and legal imprisonment. She chose the latter in order to stay true to herself and fight for justice she deserves. While this post could be used as evidence for further examination of her trial, Kesha receives little more than online posts that read #FreeKesha and comments that encourage her to keep fighting. Despite the moral support, no strides are actively being made against this injustice.
It’s interesting that no one is overly concerned. The news faded as soon as the court ruling was announced because everyone assumed there was nothing he or she could do to help. Why did the news fade? Why are we allowing the abuse to continue? In doing so, we who know about her case arguably become as guilty of the crime as the abuser himself. We are active bystanders to the crime — we know it is happening, but we do nothing to stop it.
We are ignoring the obvious signs. Kesha failed to produce a popular single (in contrast to the years of success prior) until 2013, when she released “Timber” with musical artist Pitbull. From 2010 to 2013, there was a period of inactivity, which Gottwald attributed to creative difference — an appropriately vague statement to cover the allegations he foresaw. It was said that Gottwald was focused on other “more high profile and lucrative artists,” though it is not unlikely that the period of inactivity and declined productivity resulted from conflicts between the two as a result of creative suffocation and emotional abuse. Kesha even entered rehab for two months in 2014 as a result of a developing eating disorder, but no one seems to find this to be compelling evidence for her deteriorating mental state.
The ignorance must stop now. Gottwald should not be let alone to continue his career under such accusations just because he tells his Twitter followers to imagine what it would be like in his position. We need to stop giving him the benefit of the doubt. We need to stop calling him “Dr. Luke,” as if it’s a nickname for a close friend with high status and an endearing professional personality.
Kesha is still fighting. We are not.