#FreeKesha: The history of Kesha’s tumultuous relationship with Dr. Luke


Pop star Kesha sat in a courtroom on Feb. 19 with tears streaming down her face after a New York Supreme Court judge ruled against releasing her from her contract with producer Lukasz Gottwald, known as Dr. Luke, and Sony.

Kesha has accused Dr. Luke of drugging her and sexually assaulting her on multiple accounts during her time working with record label Kemosabe Records, which is an umbrella branch of Sony Music Entertainment, but a judge denied her request to break the contract.

Many college students remember jamming out to “Tik Tok” in middle school and other hits like “Blow” and “We R Who We R.” But now, Kesha is associated most with her trending hashtag: #FreeKesha.

Several celebrities have taken to Twitter with the hashtag, with stars like Taylor Swift, Adele and Lady Gaga supporting Kesha after her loss in court. Swift even donated $250,000 to Kesha.

Arriene Tomoda, a freshman graphic design major, said she disagrees with the court ruling. She said sexual assault allegations happen all the time, but this story is getting so much attention because of the celebrities involved.

“I think this case should have a lot of attention brought to it. Stories like these are in the news for one day, then we never hear about it again, unless it’s a celebrity like in this case,” she said. “This is a real current issue for today’s women, and it’s great that celebrities are coming to Kesha’s side and defending her, but we can’t let the media take all the spotlight when in all actuality someone is hurt and we should fix that.”

Emma Napper, a freshman art major from New Zealand, said she doesn’t support the pop star.

“Dr. Luke manages Lorde, who is from New Zealand, and they’ve never had any problems. [Kesha] could be giving him a bad name to try and victimize him and get out of her contract,” Napper said. “Personally, there’s other insane managers and producers that actuallyhave raped or abused their artists, we should focus on them not Kesha.”

Dr. Luke filed a counter suit that Kesha made up the allegations to get out of her exclusive contract with him.

According to CBS, Dr. Luke’s legal team released the following statement: “In 2005, [Dr. Luke] discovered Kesha – who at the time was completely unknown – and signed her to a record deal. He proceeded to devote significant time and effort into her career, ultimately turning her into the prominent platinum-selling artist that she is today.”

Dr. Luke has remained firm that Kesha has fabricated her allegations and is trying to escape her contract illegally.

Alex Rusch, a freshman chemical engineering major, said he feels that Kesha should be allowed to break her contract with Dr. Luke.

“I feel like contracts can be broken no matter what, given that some compensation be involved. Since it is still a contract there should be a consequence for preemptive termination without even considering any legal issues,” he said.

Many Hollywood stars have taken to each side of the feud.

Kesha’s most recent supporter Adele announced she would stand by the pop singer’s side on TV during the Brit Awards.

Rusch said the celebrity support with or against Kesha should not make a difference on the case.

“As for celebrities, my understanding is that any support they show is an informal gesture of amicus curiae. They are third parties uninvolved attempting to swing the direction of the verdict in favor of, in this case,” he said.

The case between the two musicians appears to be escalating quickly with the social media coverage it has gotten.

Max Kalnitz is a staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com