The legal action Kesha has been pursuing against her former producer and mentor Dr. Luke for several abuses of power continues to drag on, as court battles over her claims of sexual assault and emotional abuse are mostly denied. But not before the producer and his legal team have sued Kesha’s mother twice for defending her own daughter.
In a small victory, Kesha is no longer forced to create music with the producer — something he doubled down on recently in court — but, she is still forced to pay him a portion of whatever merch or touring she does in the meantime that includes her likeness.
According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s reporting on court documents, Luke is suing the singer for $1.3 million in ancillary royalties. Kesha’s contract is apparently set up in such a way to give Luke ten percent for any money earned from the use of her name and likeness. She hasn’t released new music, but even her live appearances and new merch — often buoyed by the underlying “Free Kesha” rallying cry — fall under this contract, so Luke claims he’s legally entitled to a cut from these profits.
From his legal memorandum:
“Plaintiffs have paid Kesha her royalties for all relevant accounting periods, while Kesha baselessly refuses to pay Plaintiffs the much larger sums she owes them. In December 2016 alone, Defendant received payments under her contracts with Plaintiffs in excess of $650,000. In sharp contrast, Defendant admits that she owes Plaintiff KMI over $1.3 million in ancillary royalties that she has failed to pay.”
Legally, Luke continues to consistently and to vehemently deny all of Kesha’s claims, and specifically used the line of questioning that undermines her suit by asking why she didn’t report them earlier. Lady Gaga shut that particular line of victim-blaming down for all of us a while ago, when Donald Trump was facing scrutiny for numerous women coming forward with their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of the president.
New developments dragged Lady Gaga further into the story via some text messages that Kesha allegedly sent the singer about her own rape and claim that Luke has assaulted another pop star as well. It remains to be seen whether she will appear in court to testify about these exchanges.
In the meantime, his legal team is reiterating that even though he remains the CEO of Kemosabe Records, the label Kesha is signed to, he hasn’t interfered with her new music at all.
From the memorandum:
“Defendant also would have this Court –- and the press and public –- believe that Gottwald has interfered with her recording process and has prevented her from recording new music. Nothing could be further from the truth. As Kesha’s proposed counterclaim concedes, she is recording in the studio with producers of her choosing and preparation is underway for the release of her next album. Gottwald has not interfered in any way with her recording process; and there is no factual allegation (as opposed to bare conclusion) to the contrary in Kesha’s proposed pleading. The fact that Gottwald never forfeited his rights as CEO of Kemosabe Records does not –- and cannot -– give rise to any new counterclaim.”