US judge rejects Kesha's claims against Dr Luke

A New York state Supreme Court judge has dismissed Kesha’s eight counterclaims against her music producer Dr Luke.
A New York state Supreme Court judge has dismissed Kesha’s eight counterclaims against her music producer Dr Luke.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK•Pop singer Kesha was dealt a major setback on Wednesday in her legal fight against producer Dr Luke after a New York state Supreme Court judge rejected her claims of infliction of emotional distress, gender-based hate crimes and employment discrimination, citing a lack of evidence and jurisdiction.

Justice Shirley Kornreich wrote of Kesha's eight counterclaims, all of which were dismissed without the possibility of amending them: "Kesha failed to plead that any of the alleged discrimination occurred in New York state or city."

In addition, she said the statute of limitations had passed relating to some of her accusations.

Kesha, 29, whose full name is Kesha Rose Sebert, initially filed a civil suit in Los Angeles in October 2014, in which she said Dr Luke had emotionally and sexually abused her, and in at least one instance had raped her, in the years after he signed her in 2005.

Dr Luke, 42, born Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, responded with a lawsuit in New York accusing Kesha and her mother of defamation and breach of contract. Kesha filed a counterclaim in New York; her California suit was stayed in favour of the New York action.

In February, her request for a preliminary injunction against Dr Luke and Sony Music, the parent firm of his record label, Kemosabe, was denied after Sony said it was "ready, willing and able to approve a producer with whom Kesha can work other than Gottwald".

She had argued that her career was in jeopardy and she needed to record an album outside her contract to remain commercially viable. The ruling started a social media uproar, with fans and female artists adopting the #FreeKesha cause.

Kesha's legal team appealed against the ruling last month, likening her recording contract with Dr Luke and Sony to "slavery".

On Wednesday, judge Kornreich said that while Kesha claimed she was "sexually, physically and verbally abused by Gottwald for a decade, she describes only two specific instances". And while the singer said the abuses continued after those alleged episodes in 2005 and 2008, the judge said, "she supplies no dates or specifics".

She also rejected allegations that she was the victim of a hate crime, saying the claims "do not allege that he harboured animus towards women or was motivated by gender animus when he allegedly behaved violently towards Kesha".

On Sunday, Kesha said on Instagram that she had been offered a release from her contract if she recanted her rape claims. "I will not take back the TRUTH," she wrote.

A representative for Dr Luke called the post false.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2016, with the headline 'US judge rejects Kesha's claims against Dr Luke'. Subscribe