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Kesha Vs. Dr. Luke: A Guide To The Legal Battle

Kesha‘s emancipation has only just begun, but the messy details from behind-the-scenes are already starting to surface.

But first, a rewind for context.

Following the release of Kesha’s second studio album Warrior back in late 2012, diehard Animals distressed by the “Die Young” singer’s floundering success — and, more importantly, producer Dr. Luke‘s perceived control over Kesha — began to stage a grassroots revolt. By the end of 2013, the #FREEKESHA movement was in full force, from leaking demos and mixtapes showcasing her natural vocals to creating petitions to stop Dr. Luke from working with the singer. “Kesha isn’t allowed…to express her genuine creativity because of pure selfishness and marketing decisions made by her producer, Dr. Luke,” the group declared.

As we later learned, Kesha wasn’t entirely opposed to the idea — in fact, she basically confirmed that her creative control was being stifled.

Things took a dark turn at the start of this year, when Kesha checked into rehab to resolve ongoing body image issues, reportedly citing Dr. Luke as a major contributor, who allegedly called her a “fucking refrigerator” on a video shoot in 2012. By summer, she’d made a tremendous transformation, dropping the K$ dollar sign (Kesha Rose was born!), turning into a rainbow, opening up about her experience in rehab, and even signing on as a judge on Rising Star. Everyone seemed to be on the road to recovery moving forward — and then, a bombshell.

In a new lawsuit filed against Dr. Luke, Kesha now claims that the producer physically and emotionally abused her for nearly a decade. I won’t go into all the details of the allegations here, but they’re awful — and very specific. Within an hour, Dr. Luke fired back with his own counter-lawsuit, claiming that Kesha spread lies to the “Free Kesha” blogger movement, and that her case is nothing but extortion to try and get out of her deal with Luke’s Kemosabe Records.

Truthfully, we know nothing about what’s actually happened. It’s unfair to make any assumptions based purely on speculation. And, as far as we know, these kind of allegations haven’t come from any of Dr. Luke’s other artists. (Morbidly however, it’s hard not to wonder about Luke’s girl group, G.R.L.. We know what just happened with that.)

That being said: From an outsider’s perspective, Dr. Luke’s counter-lawsuit is pretty curious. Even if Kesha’s lawsuit was purely made up of lies, why wouldn’t Luke just agree to let her go without having his name dragged through the dirt? What purpose does it serve to keep an unhappy artist under your roster? It’s an odd move on Luke’s part, for sure.

The fact is that someone is lying, a move which will likely torpedo their own career — or both, depending on how drawn out this lawsuit becomes. And that’s terrible, no matter how you look at it: From “Since U Been Gone” to “Till The World Ends,” Dr. Luke’s had a hand in producing some of the greatest pop hits of the past decade. If proven guilty, this case would certainly cast a dark, gross shadow on his work forever.

Of course, as someone who has been staunchly #TeamKesha from the start, I only want to see her win. And if the allegations are proven true, then good on her for coming forward.

She’s still got so much more potential for greatness — here’s hoping this case is only a footnote in her career.