Friday 24 January 2020

Judge throws out Kesha's sex abuse claims against producer

A New York judge has thrown out Kesha's hate-crime and human-rights claims against her former producer Dr Luke (AP)
A New York judge has thrown out Kesha's hate-crime and human-rights claims against her former producer Dr Luke (AP)

Pop star Kesha's claims that producer Dr Luke violated human rights and hate crime laws by drugging, sexually abusing and emotionally tormenting her have been dismissed by a judge, who said rape is not necessarily an act of gender hatred.

Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich ruled in the platinum-selling singer's civil court clash with the producer, who denies the singer's accusations and has not been charged with any crime.

Kesha's claims that Dr Luke violated her rights by raping and abusing her cannot go forward because the alleged incidents happened outside New York. They also stretch beyond legal time limits and do not meet the high legal bar for "intentional infliction of emotional distress", the judge said.

Judge Kornreich wrote: "Her claims of insults about her value as an artist, her looks and her weight are insufficient to constitute extreme, outrageous conduct intolerable in a civilised society."

She added that Kesha did not say that Dr Luke's alleged attacks were spurred by animus towards women.

"Every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime," the judge wrote.

Lawyers for the Tik Tok singer did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the ruling, which left standing a portion of Kesha's claims involving contract issues.

Lawyers for Dr Luke and Sony Music Entertainment - his partner in Kesha's record label, Kemosabe Records, and a defendant against her claims - declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Kesha is appealing an earlier refusal to free her from her contract. Dr Luke's breach-of-contract claims against her are ongoing, and so are California and Tennessee lawsuits surrounding a dispute that has caused ripples throughout the entertainment business.

Kesha fans have called on Sony to sever ties with Dr Luke. The maker of an upcoming PBS mini-series about pop music has said he is considering cutting scenes which feature Dr Luke, while Kesha has received support from a number of celebrities, including Taylor Swift, Adele and Lady Gaga.

Kesha has said she cannot work with a "monster" whom she accuses of raping her a decade ago after giving her a pill that knocked her out.

She also said he bullied her to lose weight until she was so traumatised that she developed an eating disorder and spent two months in a rehabilitation clinic in 2014.

Dr Luke said she is fabricating accusations to sully him in hopes of getting out of her five-album contract.

"Kesha and I were friends for many years and she was like my little sister," he wrote on Twitter in February.

His lawyers note that during sworn questioning in another lawsuit in 2011, Kesha said Dr Luke "never made sexual advances" toward her or gave her the date-rape drug known as a "roofie".

Her lawyers say she was too afraid of him to speak up at the time.

Born Lukas Gottwald, Dr Luke has produced some of the biggest pop hits of the past decade, working with stars including Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Kelly Clarkson and Nicki Minaj.

PA Media

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