Kesha & Dr. Luke settle lawsuit, he withdraws defamation case

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Kesha signed with Dr. Luke and his Kemosabe Records label when she was 18. In October 2014 Kesha, then 26, sued Dr. Luke to get out of her contract with him and Kemosabe Records, accusing him of sexual assault (specifically rape in 2005), drugging and verbal and physical abuse. Dr. Luke immediately countersued for defamation, calling Kesha a liar and an extortionist. In February 2016 Kesha’s injunction to be allowed to break her contract was thrown out by a judge on the New York Supreme Court, who decided to stick to a literal interpretation of the language in Kesha’s contract, citing that Kemosabe agreed to let Kesha record without Dr. Luke being involved… but he was still head of Kemosabe which would be producing the music. Kesha’s attorney had tried arguing that while yes, Kesha could technically record music without Dr. Luke’s involvement in the studio, when it came time to promoting and releasing the music out into the world, her career was still in Dr. Luke’s hands. One month later the same judge denied Kesha’s appeal and offered the still-perplexing reasoning: “Every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime.”

Between the pandemic and Kesha withdrawing various suits against Dr. Luke, progress seemed to stall in their litigation–although public support was very much on Kesha’s side. Kesha released three albums–Rainbow (2017), High Ground (2020) and Gag Order (2023)–but all still under Kemosabe Records and making money for Dr. Luke. His defamation case was supposed to go to trial in July 2023, but in early June the New York Court of Appeals reversed a decision from a lower court, which made his case harder to prove. The Court of Appeals asserted that Dr. Luke was a public figure, and, in legal terms, that greatly raised the bar (intentional pun, we can still sprinkle in humor here) for him to prove that Kesha had acted with malice against him. That court also said that Kesha should have been allowed to file counterclaims against Dr. Luke for distress and damages.

Which brings us to yesterday’s news, announced via a “joint” statement, that Dr. Luke was withdrawing his defamation case because he and Kesha had settled:

“Only God knows what happened that night,” Kesha wrote in the statement shared on Instagram. “As I have always said, I cannot recount everything that happened. I am looking forward to closing the door on this chapter of my life and beginning a new one. I wish nothing but peace to all parties involved.”

Dr. Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, has continued to deny the claims made by the singer.

“While I appreciated Kesha again acknowledging that she cannot recount what happened that night in 2005,” his statement reads, “I am absolutely certain that nothing happened. I never drugged or assaulted her and would never do that to anyone. For the sake of my family, I have vigorously fought to clear my name for nearly 10 years. It is time for me to put this difficult matter behind me and move on with my life. I wish Kesha well.”

[From The Guardian]

“While I appreciate Kesha again acknowledging that she cannot recount what happened that night in 2005, I am absolutely certain that nothing happened.” WHAT. A. DICK. I mean, we knew that about him, but you would think this would be the one instance where lawyers and managers would insist upon a calmer tone. Passive-aggression aside, the words from both of them are clearly the result of painstaking negotiation between attorneys, and I find it kind of fascinating. What were those discussions? How much money did each word cost each side? And speaking of, what’s conspicuously absent from all the reporting is how much was paid and by whom. I think as part of the settlement, we’re never going to get that info.

I hope this “resolution” really does bring closure for Kesha. As we’ve noted recently, she’s been looking great, and I hope at least part of that is down to finally making him pay.

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13 Responses to “Kesha & Dr. Luke settle lawsuit, he withdraws defamation case”

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  1. K says:

    I stand by Kesha. I always have and always will. Luke is a monster and a lying rapist.

  2. girl_ninja says:

    That disgusting man has used his power and the courts to torture Kesha. He’s dropping this defamation case because he raped her and she’s somehow relented to move past this. I stand with Kesha and support her. I wish the world for her.

  3. Jessic says:

    He is disgusting. I saw an interview with Kelly Clarkson once where she said she gave up millions in residuals because she refused to have her name next to his. and yet, he is still supported by various companies, etc. i hope she can find a way to move on and find more success.

  4. Nicegirl says:

    Kesha 💕 💗

  5. Mireille says:

    Ugh. So that’s it? He gets away with it. What a POS a**hole. He’ll do this to another young girl/woman. This man made his money off the talent of others, make them sign over the lives to him, exert total control, and then use said money to manipulate the system in silencing dissenters and victims. Weinstein all over again. I hope, at the very least, no one will work with him again.

  6. It Really Is You, Not Me I’m says:

    I hope for closure and peace for her, because she fought a good fight. Maybe there will be an eye on him now because of this information and he won’t have another opportunity to assault and gas-light any other up-and-coming artists.

  7. Twin Falls says:

    I wish her peace.

  8. Shim says:

    When Kelly Clarkson, one of the nicest people in the business, refuses writing credit because she didn’t want her name attached to his, you know he’s problematic.

  9. Jen says:

    Kesha’s words are that she can’t recount everything. Dr Luke is pretending she said she doesn’t remember anything. He’s scum and I believe her. I believe her that she remembers enough to know she was raped.

  10. J.ferber says:

    I saw their statements. She said she was drugged and raped, and now says she can’t recall a lot of what happened (how could she if she were drugged?). He categorically states that he never drugged or raped her. I stand firmly with Kesha. Luke is some evil bitch. I hope more women stand up to this asshole and tell their truths. This wasn’t a one-off.

  11. Jenn says:

    Rape allegations aside, Dr Luke was an established music producer who trapped a *high schooler* in a predatory contract. That tells me all I need to know about him. Bless Kesha as she makes her own way in this world.

  12. ann says:

    “I hope at least part of that is down to finally making him pay. ”

    But he didn’t pay. He got away with it.

  13. Calamityschild says:

    I adore Kesha! I can totally relate with just wanting something like this to be over. I hope she phoenixes this situation and signs a contract with someone else and writes a ‘revenge’ song that goes so super platinum that Luk-@ss can’t escape it wherever he goes!