Music

Kesha Has Suffered Another Setback In Her Legal Battle Against Dr. Luke

A court has ruled that Kesha defamed Dr. Luke when she claimed that he had raped singer Katy Perry.

Dr Luke and Kesha

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— Content Warning: This article discusses sexual assault — 

Singer-songwriter Kesha has suffered a setback in her long-running legal dispute against Dr. Luke, with a court ruling that Kesha defamed the producer when she alleged in text messages that he had raped Katy Perry.

The texts were revealed to the court in 2017. Sent from Kesha to fellow pop star Lady Gaga, they levelled sexual assault charges against Dr. Luke, real name Lukasz Gottwald.

In a deposition, Perry denied that she had been assaulted by Gottwald, making the defamation ruling something of an open and shut case — the court ruled that what the ‘Tik Tok’ singer said was false, immediately making the claim defamatory from a legal standpoint.

“Kesha made a false statement to Lady Gaga about Gottwald that was defamatory per se,” claimed Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter.  “There is no evidence whatsoever that Gottwald raped Katy Perry. Moreover, publication of a false statement to even one person, here Lady Gaga, is sufficient to impose liability.”

The legal battle has been going on since 2014, shortly after Kesha first went public with her allegations that Gottwald had sexually and emotionally abused her at the beginning of her career. Gottwald subsequently sued for defamation — the result of which will be determined in a forthcoming jury trail.

Kesha initially attempted to countersue Gottwald, but her application was denied by the New York Supreme Court — her subsequent appeal against the court’s decision also failed.

The judge today also dismissed Kesha’s last remaining counterclaim that she be released from Gottwald’s record company KMI — which still collects royalties from her music. Kesha was also ordered to pay US$373,000 in interest for a late payment to Gottwald for over US $1.3 million in royalties.