Once again, in the face of allegations of abuse, the American legal system failed a female artist. In doing so, the powers-that-be stifled the voice of not just an artist, but of all those who fight so hard to be heard in the face of abuse.
For those unaware, the situation breaks down like this: Ms. Sebert signs a record deal tying her to producer Lukasz Gottwald (Dr. Luke) and his Sony-backed Kemosabe Records for six albums. Kesha proceeds to come forward with the struggles of her life as a young artist and details the abuses she feels she suffered at the hands of the producer – note that this is not an indictment of either side, for wholly legal reasons. I will say this, however: victims are too often denied justice and approval in the court of public opinion because the weak-minded falsely cower behind the lack of a legal decision ruling deeming that the accused is, in fact, guilty.
Fast forward to last week and a New York court decided that Kesha would be required to honour the terms of the agreement she signed all those years ago, at least until the suits and countersuits by either side are settled in civil court.
Put plainly, this means Kesha is legally required to chain her career to the very man who has caused her so much distress, pain, and anxiety. Not to mention, the energy of having to fight legal battles while you are denied the opportunity to practice your art and make a living.
The ridiculous part is that Kesha’s plight was doomed from the start. This case is more about paper and ink than it is about a person’s safety. This young woman is fighting against the struggles that have been wrought by this man and now, under no uncertain terms, she has been ordered to work with her abuser. Ignoring for a second the allegations of rape and emotional abuse – which most certainly should be at the forefront of this discussion – one has to acknowledge the fact that the court has disregarded the sanity and safety of an artist to protect the sanctity of a legal contract. This is where my formality stops.
Fuck contracts. Legal advice be damned, fuck contracts when they allow for abusers, confirmed or not, to hold a human being hostage personally and professionally. This case would not have set a precedent, would not have pushed any assumption of guilt onto the accused. This was an artist asking to be set free, and that she was denied that right is a travesty.
With her career in purgatory, her personal life in ruins, and a long legal battle still ahead, one has to feel for Kesha. Sadly, when it comes to legal systems, a Twitter hashtag can’t do much. Well, except one thing: a social media campaign can prove that support is there for someone who has not felt such a thing from those who have the authority to ensure their safety.