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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Kesha needs to be freed from her Sony contract and her abuser

Following allegations of sexual assault against her producer, Dr. Luke, Kesha entered a legal battle to nullify her six album contract that the two are in together under Sony. The verdict came from the Manhattan Supreme Court on Feb. 19 with the horrifying news that rather than being freed from her alleged attacker, Kesha would have to continue to work with Dr. Luke through the end of the contract.

While no charges were officially brought up, Kesha has accused Dr. Luke of drugging and raping her following her 18th birthday roughly 10 years ago. Since then, she claims to have undergone further sexual and emotional trauma caused by Dr. Luke. Even when considering the details of the assault and abusive relationship between Kesha and Dr. Luke, the Manhattan judge said that breaking the contract between Kesha and Sony would cause Sony financial harm and would break the laws set in place over contract agreements.

Sony offered to have Kesha work with another producer, but Kesha declined as she believes that any album she would make with a producer other than Dr. Luke, Sony’s biggest hit-maker, would fail to be properly promoted by the label, thus diminishing her music career.

Kesha’s case has once again brought to light the darker side of the music industry where women are taken advantage of — often under threat of having their careers destroyed. Several prominent women in the music industry have spoken out about the abuse they suffered throughout their careers. These cases show that sexual assault runs deep in the music industry, as they date back as far as Jackie Fox’s 1976 case.

When Jackie Fox — real name Jackie Fuchs —was just 16, she was drugged and raped by her producer in front of several people, including her bandmates, in a motel room. It wasn’t until 40 years after her assault that Fuchs broke her silence after being prompted by the news of Kesha’s ongoing case, which drew parallels to her own experience. Fuchs says that she kept her silence while she was in the band in order to keep their career going, though the band members’ relationships with one another quickly deteriorated after the incident, leading to the eventual break up of the group.

Lady Gaga has also come forward about an assault that happened to her when she was 19 by a man who was 20 years older than her. Gaga also chose to remain silent for seven years following the assault until a recent interview with Howard Stern, saying that she feared for her future career and had mainly blamed herself for the incident. Since Kesha’s verdict came out, Gaga has been outspoken on social media in support of Kesha and attacking the music industry, claiming that the industry and the legal system allow for men to abuse women without any ramifications.

In addition to Fuchs and Lady Gaga, Kesha has found support from several celebrities including Taylor Swift, who donated $250,000 toward Kesha’s legal fees, and Adele, who publicly declared her support for Kesha during her acceptance speech at the Brit Awards. Kesha’s fans have also rallied behind her and have been protesting outside of Sony’s New York City offices with a simple message that one fan summed up as: “Nobody should ever be forced to work with their abuser.”

Their support is of the upmost importance if any industry-wide change is going to happen. Sexual assault in the music industry has the unfortunate tendency to fade into the background shortly after being uncovered, leaving the path open for further instances to occur. This pattern of sexual violence in the music industry is all too prevalent and far too tolerated. Many cases are simply swept under the rug and never confronted, as sexual assault is considered part of the price of being in the industry.

This notion is absolutely ridiculous. A person should be free to pursue any career or dream without the fear of being sexually assaulted. When Kesha broke her silence about her case’s verdict, she wrote on Facebook, “All I ever wanted was to be able to make music without being afraid, scared, or abused … This is about being free from my abuser.” 

Follow Maddie Birr on Twitter.

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