Kesha Might Not Perform At The 2016 BBMAs — UPDATE

by Emily Lackey

It looks like more contractual woes are in store for Kesha. On Tuesday, it was announced that Kesha might not be performing at the Billboard Music Awards as some media venues had previously announced. And, unfortunately for Kesha, this recent decision may involve Dr. Luke and his record label, Kemosabe Records. Dick Clark Productions released a statement claiming that “Kesha accepted an invitation to perform on the show and she received written approval from Dr. Luke’s record label, Kemosabe Records. Kemosabe subsequently rescinded its approval… regarding Kesha’s appearance on the BBMAs. Unfortunately, Kesha and Kemosabe have since been unable to come to an agreement for Kesha to perform on the show.” Bustle reached out to representatives for Kesha, Sony, and Dr. Luke for further comment and have not heard back. Update: Kesha confirmed that her performance was cancelled in an Instagram post on Tuesday night.

Additional Update: On Thursday, Buzzfeed confirmed that Kesha will be performing at the Billboard Music Awards after all. According to a statement from Kemosabe Records, "Kesha's performance on the Billboard Music Awards was always approved, in good faith. Approval was only suspended when Kemosabe learned Kesha was to use the performance as a platform to discuss the litigation. Now that Kemosabe has obtained assurances, that is relying upon, from Kesha, her representatives and Dick Clark Productions that neither Kesha nor her supporters will use the performance as such a platform, the approval has been restored."

Earlier: This alleged stalemate comes after a rather tumultuous time for Kesha and music producer Dr. Luke (real name: Lukasz Gottwald). The singer alleged that Gottwald sexually assaulted her in a lawsuit in October 2014. That same month, Gottwald filed a countersuit for alleged extortion and denied the charges in a tweet in 2016, "I didn’t rape Kesha and I have never had sex with her. Kesha and I were friends for many years and she was like my little sister." Kesha hoped to be permitted by a court of law to record music without Dr. Luke, but, in February 2016, New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich upheld Kesha’s original contract with Sony, stating, "You're asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry." Since then, Kesha has recorded "True Colors" with Zedd, Instagramed numerous inspiring messages, and was rumored to be planning to address Dr. Luke in a statement performance at the Billboard Music Awards — until now.

It seems like the road ahead for these business associates is bound to be a troubled one. Whether or not Kesha will indeed perform at the Billboard Music Awards still remains to be seen.

Kesha’s lawyer released the following statement to Billboard on October 2014:

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.

On April 3, spokesperson for Dr. Luke released a statement to Rolling Stone, assuring fans that:

The Court repeatedly stated Kesha is already free to record without Dr. Luke, and that she had not presented any facts supporting her claims. That's because all the evidence - including Kesha's own videotaped sworn testimony - show her allegations are false. The only thing Kesha is not free to do is to continue to lie about Dr. Luke through publicity stunts and outrageous smears, ignoring the fact that by her own free will she went to work and entered into new contracts with Dr. Luke years after this 'incident' supposedly happened. Her goal all along has been solely personal enrichment by seeking to break contracts that brought her success and millions so she can enter into more lucrative ones. We look forward to our day in court holding Kesha accountable for her lies.

Sony, too, had something to say about the legal situation they found themselves in. On February 24, an attorney for Sony told the New York Times:

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.