Perhaps, if you don’t follow pop music, you managed to miss the long, long ongoing drama of singer Kesha’s (formerly “Ke$ha”—I know, I know… ) legal efforts to get out of her recording contract with Sony and producer Dr. Luke, (Lukasz Gottwald) who has produced hits by other artists like Katy Perry, Rihanna, Pitbull and Miley Cyrus. It isn’t over, but the unethical caterwauling by Kesha and her supporters both in and out of the industry is deafening.
Kesha Rose Sebert was 18 and an unknown singer from Nashville when she signed a five or six (I have read both) album contract with one of Dr. Luke’s recording companies in 2005. It took five years, but the producer’s faith in her paid off when Tik Tok became the No. 1 song in the country. Kesha released two albums in the next two years, but none since 2012.
In October 2014, Kesha’s legal team sued Dr. Luke for alleged sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, emotional abuse, and violation of California business practices since the beginning of their business relationship. The lawsuit claimed that Dr. Luke had drugged her, raped her while she was drugged, and also tormented her to the point where Kesha developed an eating disorder that eventually required medical attention. Kesha asked that the court let her out of her exclusive recording contract because, as she put it in a sworn affidavit, “I cannot work with this monster.”
Dr. Luke, not appreciating being branded a rapist, filed a countersuit against Kesha and her attorneys for defamation, and accused her, her mother, and her management of fabricating the abuse claims to break her contract with him and his partner, Sony. Last November, Dr. Luke asked the judge to dismiss Kesha’s allegations of sexually abusing her.
The mess has become progressively messier, with allegations involving other performers, documentary evidence that seemed to indicate that Kesha and her family had affectionate exchanges with Dr. Luke after the alleged rape, and enough drama to make a good LMN movie, but the bottom line is this: Kesha has not introduced a shred of evidence backing up her accusation. And there is the little problem of Kesha herself swearing under oath that the producer “never made sexual advances at me” during sworn questioning in another lawsuit in 2011. ( Her lawyers say she was too abused and intimidated to disclose what happened.)
Meanwhile, lawyers for Dr. Luke and Sony Music Entertainment insist that she is breaching the current six (or is it five?) album agreement by not recording as she promised.
Last week, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich denied Kesha’s request for an injunction, ruling that Sony would be ‘”irreparably harmed” if the 28-year-old singer did not fulfill her contract and record more albums with the label.
“You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry,” the judge said. Noting that Dr. Luke had invested $60 million in Kesha’s career (Holy cow!) and that Kesha had been given the option to record under another producer at Sony, Justice Kornreich said that granting the injunction would undermine state contract law.
This isn’t over, but the legal conclusion is obvious: Kesha doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Nobody can get out of a contract based on claims like those in the absence of evidence. Contracts are essential to the orderly process of commerce and business. The judge is quite correct: allowing a singer to dissolve a long-term contract based only on her unsubstantiated fear and loathing of her contact partner would make such contracts next to worthless.
Now, maybe everything she says is true, but just saying it isn’t enough, can’t be enough, and shouldn’t be enough. Moreover, given that mega-millions may be at stake, her motives are suspect.
Never mind the law, never mind contracts, never mind common sense, logic and fairness: Kesha’s show business pals and fellow celebrities, the entertainment media, irresponsible journalists and social media mobs (using the hashtag #Kesha) are screaming that injustice is being done, and that Kesha must be believed, because she’s a woman who is accusing a man of rape, and that’s all that should matter.
Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and Lorde all saluted Kesha’s “bravery” on social media. What’s brave about s singer trying to corner millions of dollars by trashing a man’s reputation with no evidence whatsoever, especially when she knows he will be vilified while she is automatically accorded victim status by feminists, the University of Virginia, Senator Gilliland and Hillary Clinton?
Daily Beast feminist writer Kate Briquelit disgraced herself and the site by calling the system “f**cked up” because the court wouldn’t break the contract. No, kate, a really “f**cked up” system would allow people to breach valid business contracts because of completely unproven claims and allegations.
Performer April Lockhart tweeted “It’s frightening that we punish abuse victims for fighting back, forcing them to relive a nightmare. The legal system is scary. #FreeKesha.” Translation: “It’s frightening that women don’t get special rights to break contracts based on their word alone, and that the legal system actually makes both parties prove their claims, regardless of gender and politically correct biases.”
Now Superstar Taylor Swift has announced she is donating $250,ooo towards Kesha’s legal fees. That’s nice. Dumb, but nice. This will also make the critical-thinking challenged even more convinced that Kesha is getting the shaft; after all, Taylor Swift would give her all that money in Kesha wasn’t telling the truth, right?
Well, you see, that’s not really…oh, never mind.
Kesha’s lawyers have said that their client’s position is no different from Bill Cosby’s accusers. Well, they are representing their client as zealously as possible, but that’s a laughable argument, and designed for lazy thinkers as well as non-lawyers. Kesha isn’t seeking damages for abuse, nor is she seeking criminal charges against the producer, because she knows, and her lawyers know, that she has nothing at all to prove her case. While several former clients have come forth to say that Dr. Luke is an SOB (you know, like almost everyone else in the music industry), none have claimed that he drugged and raped them. When 50 women come forward to claim he assaulted them, then we can start talking about Cosby parallels.
The legal system has a lot of problems and flaws, but its resolution of this matter, at least so far, doesn’t illustrate any of them. Contracts must be enforced, and it is right and ethical that they be enforced. The prevailing belief in feminist camps that women have some special right to be believed no matter how destructive their unproven claims may be lacks fairness, equity and common sense. A justice system isn’t “f**cked up” because it doesn’t accept popular biases and feminist cant as evidence.
Sources: The Daily Beast, Channel 24, Mirror UK
22 thoughts on “#FreeKesha Ethics: Ignorance, Indignation And Feminist Bias Vs. The Law”
Ah the world we bequeath our children, where emotionalism and discard of deliberative processes reigns.
A side note: Kesha would increase her feminist bona fides if her name was spelled Ke77¢ha
C note: Gotcha.
It took me a second to get, but that was hilarious.
Sixty Million to produce the creator of this artistic treasure? Wow.
Yep, this is a world where the family eating around the table is square, but the drunk who woke up in the tub is cool. And a world where “‘Aint got a care in the world, but got plenty of beer” sounds just about right.
Sigh….I’ve aged about 50 years over the last 5. I just uesd the word “square”. I feel like I don’t belong in this society anymore. I am officially an old person.
Time to hitch up my pants to my chest, shake my fist at clouds, and ramble on about how in the good old days, “nickles used to have pictures of bumble bees on them. ‘Give me 5 bees for a quarter’ you’d say”.
Double sigh…Just like “unfortunately” and “lieutenant”, “nickel” is one of those words that I can never spell correctly.
“I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear my trousers rolled.”
Don’t worry, Chris. Prufrock was actually in his twenties.
That video is patheticness incarnate. I’m glad young girls can aspire to become hood rats when they’re sixteen. Unbelievable. But don’t worry, “it’s all good.”
Oh God that was awful! That crap is the musical equivalent of spray cheese.
The same kind of thing happened over a decade ago with underage crossover sensation Charlotte Church. Jonathan Shalit was her manager for the first part of her career, from the grand old age of 11 to about age 14. JS is a sonofabitch, the kind of guy who works 16 hours a day and expects everyone else to also, like a lot of successful folks. Once he’d negotiated a five-album deal with Sony (later extended to six), a book deal, and a few other deals, he got a curt fax from Charlotte’s parents telling him his services were no longer required. He didn’t take that lying down, and brought suit.
Lo and behold, no sooner was the suit filed than Charlotte and her family began to raise allegations of “inappropriate tactile conduct” on his part, that he’d made comments about her developing body, and once he’d sworn at her in an angry exchange about getting on a plane.
At the time (2000, give or take), I was on and off website devoted to her, and the constant stream of comments supporting her and calling JS a monster, a pedophile, and worse was, well, pretty surprising.
Ultimately the case only got as far as the second day of a hearing, and settled before he testified. JS got two million pounds plus legal fees. Charlotte’s team reduced his presence in her first autobiography to a few awkward mentions and had him airbrushed out of a photo of her meeting Bill Clinton.
Sony, and the fans, tried to cast it as trying to avoid the adverse publicity and damage to a marketable commodity that a full trial would have produced, but it’s pretty obvious what happened. No one offers two million pounds, roughly the equivalent of $3.7 million, to settle a case that they are confident of winning or even think they have a good shot at winning. I believe Charlotte and her family thought they could slime or intimidate her former manager into dropping the suit by inflating a (probably meant to be supportive) hand on a shoulder or (probably overexuberant) post-performance hug into an advance, a (probably admittedly unwise but not intentionally sleazy) comment about a too-tight sweater into a sexual leer, and an impatient bark (most likely deserved) at a dawdling teen to get on a plane lest she miss a professional commitment into abuse. After all, who was going to take the word of a hard-nosed professional over a that of a sweet-faced teen who was supposed to be everyone’s favorite granddaughter? Apparently the judge did, and Sony and Charlotte took a pretty big hit.
Sony would have been better off releasing her quietly soon after, frankly. Her idiotic comments the next year regarding 9/11 and the FDNY sent her stock tumbling with the public and her sales into a tailspin. Her decision to spend four years after that smoking, drinking, and baiting the paparazzi instead of actually making music, followed by an attempted pop release that underperformed rather badly finally led the music business to decide it was done with her.
Yet to this day Charlotte and her few remaining fans, the ones who built that website, will still say none of these failures were her fault, it was the music business, or the media, or whatever. That’s the problem with letting women, especially young, attractive women off the hook when there’s no good reason to do so. They start to believe they are entitled to avoid the consequences of their actions.
As someone with some feminist beliefs, I get really angry with anyone who cries wolf like this. They make it THAT much harder for real victims, and this one is just to get out of paying their due on a contract they and got the $60M benefit of.
“Nobody can get out of a contract based on claims like those in the absence of evidence.”
I’m not arguing against the facts of this case, because you are correct. But what if, as a rhetorical situation, there was ample and chilling evidence that he HAD in fact sexually abused her? Is that abuse sufficient to null a contract worth millions of dollars? Or would the situation play out more along the lines of a criminal prosecution for him, and her contractual obligations being handled by an intermediary?
“When 50 women come forward to claim he assaulted them, then we can start talking about Cosby parallels.”
I’m torn. The most common event in The Victim Olympics is the dogpile. With Cosby, it’s beyond the pale that all these women lied… The accusations came out over a long period of time, they were all independently similar, and at the time the original accusations were made the accusers were basically committing career suicide. That’s not to say all the accusations are true, but whether it’s one or 49, Cosby most likely has done something very wrong.
But now the stage has been set and the dogpile has been used with at least partial success. I think the legitimacy of future pileups is questioned and they will have to have a heavier burden of proof than Cosby’s did, at least for me. I can think of three cases off the top of my head where not only were dogpiled allegations provably false, they were made maliciously, and I’m sure that given an hour and some motivation is would not be hard to find dozens like them. Boiled down to the most basic, I suppose my point is that the mere volume of accusations can not and should not lessen the burden of proof for any individual claim.
1. “Boiled down to the most basic, I suppose my point is that the mere volume of accusations can not and should not lessen the burden of proof for any individual claim.” It doesn’t. It doesn’t with Cosby, either.
2. But what if, as a rhetorical situation, there was ample and chilling evidence that he HAD in fact sexually abused her? Is that abuse sufficient to null a contract worth millions of dollars?
Then it’s a factual question of whether the actions of one party has made performance of the contract unreasonably difficult or impossible by the other party, relieving that party of the contractual obligations. Sony’s saying “fine, he won’t work on any of your albums” would make even that claim a tough one.
“It doesn’t. It doesn’t with Cosby, either”
Perhaps not legally, but the court of public opinion sure seems to think it does. The drawback to this is that if any one of the 50 stories are proven false, it will be seen to discredit the other 49, and in that situation no one wins. As an example, up here in Canada, we have a relatively high profile rape case involving Jian Ghomeshi and four women. Closing arguments have been made, and his defense made a convincing case against three of the women, two of them having exchanged almost 2000 text messages trying to collude their statements and having been found out and the other actually committing perjury… But the other one was the basic (and unfortunate) he-said/she-said, which is usually insufficient for a conviction. I personally have a very hard time divorcing the cases from each other… The one woman SEEMS less credible because the other three weren’t, on the flip side, if all of the women were credible, they probably would SEEM more credible as a group. I actually feel sorry for the one woman because I think that there might be something to the case, the two colluding witnesses too, regardless of their stupidity.
As an aside, this is yet another example of a righteous male feminist who has been caught in a violence against women scandal. I can never tell if this group seems to punch above its weight class in scandal because they’re more heavily reported on, the nature of their activism leaves them more susceptible to these claims, or if there’s some sick psychosis or projection involved in their activism.
You’re too pessimistic. With 50, almost surely a few are trumped up. The public assumes that. Cosby’s admission that he bought the drugs already supplies more substantiation than Kesha has. One proven rape is all that needs to be proven for Cosby to be sunk legally, and unless they are all disproven, or some coordination is shown, a guilty judgment by the public is fair.
Perhaps. There have been some encouraging rulings lately, and my faith in the legal system is still generally high. I’d just love for schools in particular to get out of the practice of railroading young men in hopped-up pseudo-courts.
It seems the way out of this is for Gaga, Swift & Co. to buy out the contract and set the young lady free.
Would they feel the same when they saw the books? Does working out a contract require a female producer now, even if she’s not as experienced and talented to avoid charges like this?
Oh, goody! We haven’t had a lesbian charged for lechery recently.
I was thinking the producer might include impolitic comments about professionalism in his records: never call before sunset, mayor in Springfield threatening lawsuit: don’t book there, keep away from absinthe after problems showing up for concert… I’m just wondering how strong and professional female celebs will be if they must have a female handler to protect them from the stress of their job.
Then again that might be cool, but neither normal businesses or employees could pay for this insulation. It falls into special snowflake that keeps popping up so much in the last ten years.
In honor of Kesha, we should partake in some of her wisdom.
“I did go to the bone zone with a ghost…I don’t know his name but he was in my house…It was a sexy time, it wasn’t like sex…”
“I’ve got a song called ‘Supernatural’, that song was about having sex with a ghost. I lived in this flop house at Rural Canyon and there was this weird energy that lived there, and it used to keep me at night and wake me up. And it progressed into this dark, sexual spirit. It did scare me but that’s part of the fun of it.”
“I went on a spirit journey by myself. No security guard. No managers. I just went around the world and lived on a boat. I was in Africa rehabilitating baby lions. I went diving with great white sharks, and just went on this crazy spirit quest. I got hypnotized, and I just really wanted this record to be really positive, really raw, really vulnerable and about the magic of life.”
You should trust everything this woman says without question.
This explains that queue of baby lions that jumped into the ocean and tried to swim to China, and that shiver of great white sharks that suddenly turned vegan.