Kesha’s defamation ruling is ridiculous
An example of why victims don’t report
Kesha’s music was a defining moment of my childhood, as it was for many my age. What was a defining moment of my adulthood, unfortunately, was her assault trial against her producer, Lukasz Gottwald, better known as Dr. Luke.
I’m sure a great deal of you are aware of this case. When Dr. Luke’s trial was at its peak in 2016, it was ruled in Dr. Luke’s favour. Key moments from the trial included the judge refusing to give Kesha permission to leave her contract with Sony, the record label she was signed to with Dr. Luke.
However, the key piece of evidence used against Kesha at the time was a recording of her denying that Luke ever assaulted her. The recording in question was taken in 2011, four years prior to Kesha filing a suit against Dr. Luke, which occurred in 2015.
This means that the video in question – the key piece of evidence being used against her – is a recording that had taken place while she was still under Dr. Luke’s direct management.
At the time, Kesha’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, stated that Luke “threatened to destroy Kesha’s life and the lives of her family if she didn’t cover up his sexual assaults in a 2011 deposition” according to a 2016 article from NME.com.
However, seeing the amount of weight it carried in ruling the trial in Dr. Luke’s favour, it seems as though none of this was taken into consideration.
Of course, for many victims of sexual assault and various forms of violence – primarily domestic violence – the threat of keeping silent and denying any allegations of assault is all too common.
In an article poignantly titled “Confused Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault? Ask Kesha,” the Huffington Post details how the media treatment of Kesha – belittling her struggle and questioning her motives – is the exact reason why a majority of assault victims don’t report the crimes done to them.
Let me put it as plainly as I can think possible: a lot of assault victims don’t want to relive their trauma, be stuck in a room with their abuser for days on end, and be accused of lying while attempting to get legal justice done to the person that traumatized them. Unfortunately, the public doesn’t seem quite compassionate enough to understand this.
Frequently, the public accuses victims of coming forward for some kind of financial gain. So, genuinely, I ask you, what has Kesha gained since this trial began? Notoriety? Fame? Money? No, none of the above.
What she gained was her name being dragged through the mud – people accusing her of doing this for financial gain. Realistically, what financial gain? Her money went toward hiring lawyers and dealing with a traumatizing court trial. Did she gain fame? Also no, because who would want to be known as “that girl who sued Dr. Luke for assaulting her?”
No one, because no one wears being an assault victim as a badge of pride. It isn’t something that victims enjoy, and it never will be.
Kesha’s story is all too common, and that’s the problem.
An even bigger, more prominent issue, however, if now Kesha has been charged with defamation against Dr. Luke’s character. No, I’m not kidding, but let me tell you, I wish I was.
Essentially, Dr. Luke sued Kesha in return in 2014 claiming exactly what has been analyzed above: that she had made up the assault claims to get out of a recording contract she had signed with him and Sony, and that these claims counted as defamation.
And last week, he won.
The judge, Jennifer Schecter, ruled that Kesha “defamed Gottwald when she texted Lady Gaga claiming he had [also] raped Katy Perry” and was therefore told “to pay interest of $373,671 (£289,000) on late royalties” according to BBC.
Yes. Thanks to a private text conversation with another celebrity, Kesha has been charged with defamation of her assaulter’s behaviour. You know, the text exchange that was only made public during the trial where she was arguing he was an abuser. The text exchange that wouldn’t have been made public otherwise.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, in order for defamation “to be criminally punishable, it must be such as would provoke a breach of the peace or in some other way directly prejudice the public interest.”
I feel the need to emphasize that this was a private text conversation. No broadcast as a means of swaying public interest, but a private conversation of a victim speaking with a friend about the actions of her abuser.
While Katy Perry denies the claims, claiming she had not ever been assaulted by Dr. Luke, it’s atrociously sad how such minuscule evidence against Dr. Luke – i.e. the recording of Kesha while still under his thumb – got him off scot-free, while the same amount of evidence got Kesha charged.
Do you still wonder why women don’t report sexual assault? Because I don’t.