Judge dismisses Kesha’s hate-crime and human-rights complaints against Dr. Luke
Kesha suffered another setback Wednesday in her legal action against Dr. Luke after a New York judge dismissed parts of her case, denying the singer an emergency order to be let out of her recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment.
The pop star has accused the music producer Dr. Luke, real name Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, of drugging, raping and emotionally abusing her while they worked together. Gottwald has denied any wrongdoing.
State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich noted Wednesday that the alleged abuse occurred outside of New York and outside the statute of limitations, the Associated Press reported, and so the 29-year-old singer’s human-rights and hate-crime allegations against Gottwald were tossed out.
“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,” Kornreich wrote, according to the AP. “Every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime.”
The judge thought Kesha was being unreasonable in not agreeing to an offer from Sony to work with a different producer, TMZ reported.
Gottwald and Sony have claimed that Kesha’s allegations stem from her wanting to renegotiate a better contract. She’s currently obligated to deliver a half-dozen more records for Sony.
In February, a judge rejected Kesha’s request for a preliminary injunction that would cut her ties with the company while the case is litigated and allow her to return to work, which she hasn’t done since seeking treatment for an eating disorder in January 2014. The court said that letting Kesha out of her current contract would cause Sony irreparable financial harm.
“It’s a shame that there’s so much speculation out there basing itself on so little information,” Gottwald wrote in a series of tweets after the preliminary injunction was denied. “The only truly objective person who knows the facts is the judge. ... I understand why people without all the information are speaking out. I can appreciate their compassion. But lives can get ruined when there’s a rush to judgment before all the facts come out. Look what happened at UVA, Duke etc.”
The complaint Kesha filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2014 painted a dark picture of abuse, including comments about her talent and her weight.
According to the lawsuit, over the course of a decade Gottwald -- after bringing Kesha to Los Angeles from Tennessee at 18 -- “sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally abused Ms. Sebert to the point where Ms. Sebert nearly lost her life,” aiming “to destroy her self-confidence, self-image, and self-worth so that he could maintain complete control over her life and career.”
Because of a clause in her contract, the singer was ordered by the court to handle the case in New York, where Gottwald had separately sued her for defamation and breach of contract.
After the February decision denying the preliminary injunction, Gottwald’s attorney Christine Lepera said: “The New York County Supreme Court on Friday found that Kesha is already ‘free’ to record and release music without working with Dr. Luke as a producer if she doesn’t want to. Any claim that she isn’t ‘free’ is a myth.”
On Monday, Kesha said on Instagram that she’d subsequently been offered a deal that would free her from her contract on the condition that she retract her rape allegations and apologize to Gottwald.
“I will not take back the TRUTH. I would rather let the truth ruin my career than lie for a monster ever again.” The singer was referring to an unrelated 2011 deposition in which she said her producer had neither drugged her nor had an “intimate relationship” with her.
“The Court repeatedly stated Kesha is already free to record without Dr. Luke, and that she had not presented any facts supporting her claims ...,” a spokesperson for Gottwald said in a statement to Rolling Stone on Sunday. "... The only thing Kesha is not free to do is to continue to lie about Dr. Luke through publicity stunts and outrageous smears, ignoring the fact that by her own free will she went to work and entered into new contracts with Dr. Luke years after this ‘incident’ supposedly happened.”
The statement continued: “We look forward to our day in court holding Kesha accountable for her lies.”
Your essential guide to the arts in L.A.
Get Carolina A. Miranda's weekly newsletter for what's happening, plus openings, critics' picks and more.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.