If you have been on the Internet over the past few weeks, you have probably seen the social-media frenzy that is the hashtag #FreeKesha.
For those of you who have no idea what that means, let me provide some insight. On Oct. 14, 2014, Kesha filed a complaint against her producer, Dr. Luke, citing physical and emotional abuse. According to Kesha, Dr. Luke referred to her as a “refrigerator,” made her go on crazy crash diets and even suggest that she should begin “purging” her meals.
According to court documents, Kesha also claimed that Luke would give her “sober pills” after nights of drinking, and the musician would wake up the next morning, having no idea where she was or how she got there. She citing feeling swollen and bruised on lower parts of her body, making it apparent non-consensual intercourse had occurred. About two weeks ago, Kesha and Luke were in court for an injunction for Kesha’s plea to get out of her contract with Luke. She wasn’t asking for him to be arrested, she wasn’t asking for criminal charges. The pop-star just wanted out of a six-album contract that she had with a man who abused her. Her request was denied.
Apparently, because Sony has invested $16 million in Kesha & Luke’s collaborative efforts, they didn’t deem it right to have that “investment” be broken. Sony agreed Kesha would not have to work with Dr. Luke one-on-one, but he would still be executive producer of her albums, making him in charge of content, release dates and distribution, as well as how much money will be invested in promotion. In short, Kesha is still being controlled by her abuser.
What makes this whole thing even more interesting is that another artist, Zayn Malik of One Direction, was release from his contract simply because he “wasn’t happy” with his image as a member of a boy band. He was released – no questions asked, no major media coverage from the label, nothing. He quit One Direction, and was allowed to make music freely as he wished. Zayn is signed to Columbia Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment. Why is Zayn allowed to break his contract, which, from what I hear, was worth a lot more than Kesha’s.
The outcome of this case is honestly astonishing. Sony is favoring Dr. Luke in this scenario because he produces for big name artists like Katy Perry, Britney Spears, One Direction, Maroon 5 and Miley Cyrus. Both Sony and the court kept referring to Kesha as an “investment,” objectifying her in the worst way possible. This is the problem in cases of rape and abuse; the victim is seen as an object rather than a human. Kesha is not an investment, she is a human being. Answer this Sony, why is Kesha so much more of a precious “investment” then one of the members of the biggest boy band in our time right now? Who, mind you, has out sold all of Kesha’s albums, combined?
Sony, you are sending a message to abuse victims, both men and women, that speaking out against your abuser will get you nowhere. You will be brave enough speak out, share your story and try your hardest for the abuser to get justice, but money, power and outright misogyny will win in the end. Is money is more important than a human being? My heart is with you Kesha. The positive thing that has come out of this is the outpour of love and support, and that this has brought attention to rape and sexual assault in the media.
For those who have experienced any form of sexual assault, know you are not alone. No one has the right to your body, besides you. This isn’t your fault, you did nothing wrong regardless of what you were wearing, saying, or how you were acting. Share your story, be heard and, one day, justice will come to you. You are worth so much more than one tragic thing that happened to you.
As Kesha said, “Be a warrior, fight until the end.”
Matt Pereira can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.