Monday, March 4, 2024

Kesha and Dr. Luke Settle Defamation Lawsuit


The pop super-producer and songwriter referred to as Dr. Luke has dropped a defamation lawsuit in opposition to the singer Kesha, a former protégée who had accused him of rape in a 2014 lawsuit, the 2 events introduced in a joint assertion on Thursday. The announcement signaled the tip of an almost decade-long authorized saga that has riveted the music world and are available to outline each artists’ intertwining public narratives.

The assertion, posted to social media accounts belonging to each people, stated that Kesha and Dr. Luke had “agreed to a joint decision of the lawsuit,” which was scheduled to go to trial subsequent month in New York after years of delays.

In a pair of quotes attributed to every musician individually however offered collectively, Kesha stated, “Solely God is aware of what occurred that night time,” including: “As I’ve at all times stated, I can not recount all the things that occurred. I’m trying ahead to closing the door on this chapter in my life and starting a brand new one. I want nothing however peace to all events concerned.”

Dr. Luke, born Lukasz Gottwald, added, “Whereas I respect Kesha once more acknowledging that she can not recount what occurred that night time in 2005, I’m completely sure that nothing occurred. I by no means drugged or assaulted her and would by no means try this to anybody. For the sake of my household, I’ve vigorously fought to clear my identify for practically 10 years. It’s time for me to place this tough matter behind me and transfer on with my life. I want Kesha properly.”

In a ruling earlier this month, the New York Court docket of Appeals reversed an earlier determination by a decrease court docket, calling Dr. Luke a “public determine,” which might have raised the bar to show defamation at trial by requiring him to show that Kesha had acted with precise malice. The court docket added {that a} state choose ought to have allowed Kesha to file counterclaims in opposition to Dr. Luke for misery and damages.

No felony costs have been ever filed within the case.

The authorized back-and-forth started when Kesha claimed in a 2014 civil submitting in California that she needs to be launched from her recording contract with Dr. Luke, one of many trade’s most profitable behind-the-scenes figures, as a result of the producer had “sexually, bodily, verbally and emotionally abused” her since she was a young person. The singer cited a 2005 incident not lengthy after the pair started working collectively through which Kesha stated she was drugged and raped by Dr. Luke after a celebration.

The pair labored collectively carefully for the following decade, promoting hundreds of thousands of albums and scoring two No. 1 hits, “Tik Tok,” in 2009, and “We R Who We R,” in 2010. However in her 2014 lawsuit, Kesha stated that abuse from the producer, which included insults about her look and weight, had pushed her to the purpose that she “practically misplaced her life.” Ultimately, because the #FreeKesha marketing campaign constructed on-line, stars together with Adele, Taylor Swift, Girl Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Fiona Apple, Ariana Grande and Kelly Clarkson rallied behind Kesha’s trigger.

“I can not work with this monster,” Kesha wrote in a 2015 affidavit, years earlier than #MeToo grew to become a rallying cry within the leisure trade and past. “I bodily can not. I don’t really feel secure in any approach.”

Attorneys for Dr. Luke, a notoriously personal determine within the trade, stated all through the authorized combat that the rape and abuse accusations — which they known as “extortionist threats” by Kesha, her lawyer on the time, Mark Geragos, and her mom — stemmed solely from contentious contract negotiations that started in 2013.

Dr. Luke countersued for defamation in New York, and pointed to extra contracts that Kesha signed after the alleged 2005 rape, along with a sworn deposition, from 2011, through which Kesha stated, “Dr. Luke by no means made sexual advances at me.”

In a press release on Thursday, Christine Lepera, a lawyer for Dr. Luke, stated the producer “has been constant from day one which Kesha’s accusations in opposition to him have been utterly false. Kesha’s voluntary public assertion clears Luke’s identify because it proves she had no floor to accuse him of any wrongdoing.”

For years, the circumstances wound their approach via authorized methods on two coasts. And whereas Kesha appeared to dominate within the area of public opinion — culminating in an all-star efficiency of a survivor’s anthem on the Grammy Awards in 2018 — most of her authorized claims have been rejected in court docket or withdrawn, leaving her on the defensive in Dr. Luke’s remaining defamation go well with.

In 2016, a New York choose tossed Kesha’s personal counterclaims of infliction of emotional misery, gender-based hate crimes and employment discrimination, citing an absence of proof and jurisdiction. (Her California go well with was stayed in favor of the New York motion, and later dropped.)

Because the authorized battle continued, Kesha stated that Dr. Luke’s “scorched earth litigation techniques” had halted her potential to launch music on his label, Kemosabe Information, then a three way partnership with Sony Music. (“Dr. Luke promised me he would stall my profession if I ever stood up for myself for any motive,” the singer wrote in her 2015 affidavit. “He’s doing simply that.”)

However when her lawsuit stalled, Kesha started as soon as once more releasing albums by way of Dr. Luke’s corporations, referring obliquely however definitively to their plight on the LPs “Rainbow” (2017), “Excessive Floor” (2020) and “Gag Order,” launched final month. Whereas the albums helped develop Kesha’s public persona from a wild celebration lady into an underdog feminist icon, they struggled commercially; “Gag Order” debuted in Might at No. 187 on the Billboard 200, promoting simply 8,300 copies.

Dr. Luke, for a time, noticed his profession sink, as properly. Following a string of chart-topping singles with artists like Katy Perry, Cyrus and Clarkson within the 2000s and early 2010s, the producer struggled for years to seek out hits amid the Kesha backlash. After working intermittently beneath pseudonyms, Dr. Luke has since returned to the mainstream — whereas remaining very a lot a background determine — discovering success (and Grammy nominations) with acts like Doja Cat, Kim Petras, Nicki Minaj and Latto.

Final month, Dr. Luke was named ASCAP’s pop songwriter of the yr for the third time, following wins in 2010 and 2011.

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