Kesha's Tweet About Lady Gaga's Oscars Performance Is Emotional & Important
After Lady Gaga dedicated her performance of her Oscar-nominated song, "'Till It Happens To You" at the Oscars to Kesha, she spoke out on Twitter about Lady Gaga's tribute — and her tweet about it was a deeply emotional and important one. The tweet comes over a week after a New York-based judge ruled that Kesha would not be able to break her contract with Dr. Luke (real name, Lukasz Gottwald) — the Sony music producer whom she claimed in 2014 had raped her when she was 18 years old. (For his part, Gottwald denied the allegations, and filed a countersuit for defamation against Kesha and her mother.) Gaga was one of the many celebrities to support Kesha in the days following the judge's ruling — and her dedicating her performance of "'Till It Happens To You," which was recorded for use in the documentary film about campus rape, The Hunting Ground, was a powerful gesture.
Kesha thanked both Gaga and Vice-President Joe Biden in her tweet, which she posted during the airing of the Oscars on Sunday night. Biden introduced Gaga's amazing performance at the Oscars, and urged audiences to sign the "It's On Us" pledge, which aims to fight rape culture and prevent sexual assaults. "Thank u @ladygaga and VP @JoeBiden for bringing attention to sexual assault at the oscars. it hit very close to my heart for obvious reasons," Kesha tweeted.
Gaga's performance was not one to be missed.
On Feb. 22 — three days after New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich ruled against Kesha's request to break her contract with Sony and Dr. Luke's production companies by pointing out that Sony has offered to let Kesha work with other producers under her current contract (which is for six more albums), and stating, "You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry... My instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing," — Dr. Luke's lawyer, Christine Lepera, released a statement to Rolling Stone about the decision:
The New York County Supreme Court on Friday found that Kesha is already "free" to record and release music without working with Dr. Luke as a producer if she doesn’t want to. Any claim that she isn’t "free" is a myth. The sound decision Friday by the Court in denying Kesha's motion for an injunction made it clear Kesha's allegations of purported abuse were unconvincing and that she had no basis to void record contracts and copyrights… The goal of Kesha's counsel throughout has been to obtain a more lucrative contract through a shameless campaign of outrageous claims they will never stand behind in a court of law.
As Dr. Luke has said repeatedly, the allegations against him are outright lies that have been advanced to extort a contract renegotiation and money. Kesha and her counsel have cavalierly subjected Dr. Luke and his family to trial by Twitter, using a vicious smear campaign to ruin his reputation for financial gain while failing to support their claims… It will further be shown that the incidents alleged never happened.
When Kesha initially filed her lawsuit against Dr. Luke in October 2014, however, her lawyer Mark Geragos released the following statement to Billboard:
This lawsuit is a wholehearted effort by Kesha to regain control of her music career and her personal freedom after suffering for ten years as a victim of mental manipulation, emotional abuse and sexual assault at the hands of Dr. Luke. The facts presented in our lawsuit paint a picture of a man who is controlling and willing to commit horrible acts of abuse in an attempt to intimidate an impressionable, talented, young female artist into submission for his personal gain. Kesha is focused on moving her life and her career beyond this terrible time.
Additionally, Sony has stated that they are unable to break Kesha's contract with Dr. Luke due to legal roadblocks. According to Sony's attorney, Scott A. Edelman, in a statement to the New York Times , the label claims they aren't legally allowed to break Kesha's contract because she's only signed to a subsidiary of the company — specifically, Dr. Luke's Kasz Money Publishing and Prescription Song — under a "furnishing agreement" rather than a recording contract, and thus, according to the statement, the contract technically doesn't belong to Sony.
Sony has made it possible for Kesha to record without any connection, involvement or interaction with Luke whatsoever, but Sony is not in a position to terminate the contractual relationship between Luke and Kesha. Sony is doing everything it can to support the artist in these circumstances, but is legally unable to terminate the contract to which it is not a party.
It's a complicated situation, but thankfully, artists like Gaga seem committed to standing behind Kesha in the face of it.