Court Says Pop Star Can’t Break Contract With Producer She Accused of Abuse

February 19, 2016, 10:18 PM UTC
Benefit Concert And Live Auction For Rhonda's Kiss
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Singer Kesha performs onstage with the Hellcat Saints during Rhonda's Kiss Benefit Concert at the El Rey Theatre on November 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)
Photograph by Scott Dudelson — Getty Images

By Eric Renner Brown


A New York judge has denied Kesha’s request for a preliminary injunction in her case involving songwriter and producer Dr. Luke. Handed down Friday, the decision addresses Kesha’s desire to record outside of Dr. Luke’s purview as litigation surrounding her allegations against the musician proceed. Kesha has accused Dr. Luke of “sexual and drug related” assault, according to a statement she made in an August 2015 affidavit obtained by EW.

Kesha’s attorney, Mark Geragos, argued that an injunction was necessary because, due to the fleeting nature of pop stardom, his client’s career could be ruined by an excessive gap in productivity. But New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich sided against Kesha’s argument. “You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry,” Kornreich said.

According to BuzzFeed, Kornreich said Kesha’s label Sony has permitted her to record without Dr. Luke’s involvement — an assertion Geragos reportedlyacknowledged as “an elusive promise.” Hecharacterized such an arrangement as “setting her up to fail,” because he believes Sony would not promote music recorded without Dr. Luke.

“There has been no showing of irreparable harm,” Kornreich concluded. “She’s been given opportunity to record.”

“Dr. Luke has been tyrannical and abusive since our relationship began,” Kesha explained in the affidavit, where she recounts going to a party with the producer when she was 18 and being given what he called a “sober pill.” “I had only had a few drinks but after I had taken this ‘sober pill’ I blacked out,” she said. “Then came Dr. Luke’s threats. I specifically remember him telling me that if I ever tried to get away from him for any reason that he would tie me up in litigation until my career was over.”

Earlier this month, Kornreich dismissed concurrent lawsuits brought by Dr. Luke against Kesha’s mother and manager.

Kesha’s legal team did not immediately respond to EW’s requests for comment.