55°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Feminists Are Rallying Behind Kesha

Pop+star+Kesha+is+currently+engaged+in+a+legal+battle+with+Sony+Entertainment+and+former+co-worker%26%23160%3BLukasz+%26%238220%3BDr.+Luke%26%238221%3B+Gottwald%2C+alleging+that+the+producer+sexually+and+emotionally+abused+her+for+years.%26%23160%3B

Pop star Kesha is currently engaged in a legal battle with Sony Entertainment and former co-worker Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, alleging that the producer sexually and emotionally abused her for years. 

“The support I have received has left my face swollen from tears.” The overwhelming emotional aid that pop-sensation Kesha has received shows that, to the public, issues of sexual assault within the music industry is a problem that needs to be addressed, and needs to be addressed now.
Kesha’s legal battle with Sony Entertainment and Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald has been the trending topic of just about every social media platform for months now, and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Support has been flowing in from fans, friends, family, even fellow artists and producers.
Artists like Adele and Lady Gaga have used award season to their advantage, using their moments of fame within these shows to acknowledge and publicly support the struggling star, with Gaga admitting that she is “in awe of [your] bravery.”
Indeed, Kesha is incredibly brave for shedding light on her struggles, and it’s not just because she is standing up for herself; by going public with the story of her abuse, Kesha is helping all of the women within the music industry regain their power, sense of security in the work force, and creative control over their own music.
Kesha Rose Sebert has been fighting to be released from her contract with Sony Entertainment and, more specifically, to be released from having to work under Dr. Luke’s creative control. Kesha has allegedly been sexually and emotionally abused for years by the controlling producer, thus providing a true need to be released from her contract. She’s not asking for Dr. Luke to be imprisoned. She’s not asking for more money. All Kesha is trying to do is be released from her contract and the chains that bind her to her abuser and to regain the freedom to use her voice how she wants.
But this case does not simply begin or end with Kesha and her own problems working with Sony and Dr. Luke. Other female artists like Kelly Clarkson and Miley Cyrus, among others, have worked with Dr. Luke and have made similar complaints or have refused to work with him after contractual obligations have been filled, or have had similar trouble ending said contracts.
Yet it seems that male artists, like Zayn Malik, are able to be released from contracts with little to no trouble at all. Malik, who left the boy-band sensation One Direction earlier in 2015, was able to break his contract with Sony simply because he was unhappy.
Malik later tweeted about his reason for leaving the band, confirming the rumors of his unhappiness: “I guess I never explained why I left, it was for this moment to be given the opportunity to show you who I really am! #realmusic #RCA!!”
While Malik’s reasons for leaving are valid, Sony’s decision to grant Malik his creative, emotional, and physical freedom, yet deny Kesha hers, is causing outrage among fellow artists and fans who identify as feminists. This is, essentially, a feminist issue that revolves around the overall safety and creative control of female artists around the world. With the now global reach of Kesha’s story, and with more artists, both female and male, speaking out against the producer and the company itself, the pressure on Sony is increasing exponentially, possibly forcing a decision, or settlement, to be made.
But even if a settlement is made, or (best case scenario) Kesha is released from her contract, it still leaves female artists at risk of working with potential abusers.
In a recent interview with the Rolling Stone, Whitney Broussard, a San Francisco entertainment attorney, stated that there will likely be some sort of confidentiality clause: “nobody will get to talk about what the deal was or what happened—and it’ll probably end up in some version of “Kesha stays on with Sony.” And it’s possible her deal will get much better at Sony.” Broussard is understanding of the secrecy that often revolves around a record company’s legal matters. “At the end of the day, the record business never really likes to air its dirty laundry in public. Most of the time, everyone would rather move on with life.”
While it could be months for Kesha to even set foot in a courtroom, the support still continues and, in an even better outcome, female artists are becoming more aware of the risks that could arise when working with someone like Dr. Luke.