Dr. Luke and Kesha Resolve Defamation Lawsuit
By: Jessica Wang
Dr. Luke and Kesha finally settled their decade-long lawsuit in a joint agreement on June 22. In 2014, Kesha sued Dr. Luke for drugging and assaulting her after a party. Kesha said that she should be released from Dr. Luke’s record label because Dr. Luke had sexually and emotionally abused her multiple times in their professional relationship.
In court, defense lawyers claimed the rape and abuse accusations were "extortionist threats" (false accusations) that originated from contract negotiations. Dr. Luke countersued Kesha for defamation, citing a sworn deposition in 2011 where Kesha stated, “Dr. Luke never made sexual advances at me.” Lawyer Christine Lepera responded to the deposition by saying Kesha's public statement cleared Dr. Luke's name, because her accusations had no basis.
However, public opinion thinks the opposite. A #FreeKesha movement trended on social media and popular artists joined Kesha's cause, including Adele, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Fiona Apple, Ariana Grande, and Kelly Clarkson.
In 2018, Kesha sang about the lawsuit at the Grammy Awards and the night became a hot topic on Twitter, with celebrities like songwriter Rob Thomas tweeting, “Just cried real tears watching @KeshaRose there ARE second acts in American lives. Glad I saw that. Thank you K.”
In a joint statement, Kesha and Dr. Luke confirmed their agreement to settle the lawsuit, both demonstrating their desire to move forward. Kesha acknowledged her inability to fully recount the events, while Dr. Luke maintained his innocence and expressed relief at having resolved the matter.
The legal dispute had a big impact on the careers of both artists. Although Kesha received support, her legal allegations were withdrawn. Instead, she released music, using her albums as a platform to promote women’s rights. In contrast, Dr. Luke’s reputation went downhill, which made his work difficult.
Kesha says, “Only God knows what happened that night… I am looking forward to closing the door on this chapter in my life and beginning a new one.”