By now, we’re probably all familiar with pop star Kesha’s long legal battle with Dr. Luke, her producer and label boss. Kesha says that Dr. Luke spent years drugging, raping, and emotionally abusing her. She’s been trying to get an injunction to get out of her decade-old contract with Kemosabe Records, Dr. Luke’s Sony imprint. But Sony wouldn’t let her go, and on Friday, a New York State Supreme Court judge refused to grant that injunction, thus forcing Kesha to keep her career in Dr. Luke’s hands.
It’s a sad and fucked-up story, but it’s been heartening to see so many within the entertainment industry standing with Kesha. Even Taylor Swift, usually so carefully apolitical, has donated $250,000 to Kesha. And now a friend of Swift, the Girls creator and star Lena Dunham, has written a piece in support of Kesha for Lenny Letter, her email newsletter.
In her piece, Dunham links Kesha’s experience with Dr. Luke to the many, many women who have been legally forced to depend on men who have raped and abused them. Here are a few quick excerpts:
So let me spell it out for them. Imagine someone really hurt you, physically and emotionally. Scared you and abused you, threatened your family. The judge says that you don’t have to see them again, BUT they still own your house. So they can decide when to turn the heat on and off, whether they’ll pay the telephone bill or fix the roof when it leaks. After everything you’ve been through, do you feel safe living in that house? Do you trust them to protect you?…
These women deserve better. They do not choose to have their reputations pilloried and their characters questioned as a tactic for getting what they want. What if we realize that the women who come forward have everything to lose, whether they’re pop stars or single mothers?
The fact is, Kesha will never have a doctor’s note. She will never have a videotape that shows us that Gottwald threatened and shamed her, and she will never be able to prove, beyond the power of her testimony, that she is unsafe doing business with this man. And no, none of this was in her contract. But what man, what company endeavors to keep a woman saddled with someone who she says has caused her years of trauma, shame, and fear? Fighting this fight publicly and in the legal system has already changed the course and tenor of her career forever. The lack of perspective on the part of Sony — the inability to look at the worth of a woman’s platinum records versus the worth of her soul being intact — is horrifying.