There have been further developments in the tragic case of pop singer Kesha's attempt to legally separate herself from her allegedly abusive producer Dr. Luke. According to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ, Kesha claims Dr. Luke was emotionally and sexually abusive to her over the course of her nine year relationship with him and is seeking to be released from her contract as a result. In return, Dr. Luke claims Kesha and her mother tried to extort him and are making up these claims for the sole purpose of getting released from the contract. Now, TMZ has allegedly obtained a copy of an email Kesha's mother sent to Dr. Luke's lawyers a year ago. In the email, Pebe Sebert threatens Dr. Luke to release Kesha from her contract or they would go public with their story. But is it extortion?
According to TMZ, the email contains the following: "We, me and Kesha and her friends, like Lady Gaga, are going to make all of this Really PUBLIC, in the next few days. Luke date raped Kesha when she was 18. Nicky Hilton's birthday? Paris Hilton's house? Luke gave Kesha pills. She ended up naked in his hotel room 2 days later. No longer a virgin? ...Do we all want this to come out? Either Luke releases Kesha from all legal contracts, and gives me back all my publishing, or we, Kesha and I, tell the truth... And if I wind up dead, TRUST ME, IT'S IN WRITING TO CALL YOU AND LUKE."
I will be the first to admit that I am inclined to defend a victim of any kind of abuse completely. That is not a claim to be taken lightly or to be dismissed as untrue, because it's not a claim that anyone would or should make lightly. Dr. Luke said in his countersuit that Kesha and her mother have been threatening to go public with these "lies" about him for a while and that he has had a copy of a draft of her lawsuit for months. He says the reason behind all of this is extortion, but is it really as simple as that?
The thing is, the story of sexual abuse contained in Pebe's email is the exact same story that is alleged in Kesha's lawsuit. There weren't any details changed or forgotten, which would have been one of the signs of an inconsistent or untrue tale. We don't know if this is the first email she's ever sent him on the subject or if it was the last. And, quite honestly, this reads like the act of a protective mother at the end of her rope. For many, many victims, going public with their story of abuse is a very difficult and very traumatic experience. The prevalent attitude of victim blaming makes it an unfortunate fact that many people will sympathize with the abuser and dismiss the abuse survivor's claims as being untrue or exaggerated. In addition, considering Kesha's level of fame, going public would have ensured that her name would be coming up in headlines in conjunction with the abuse she had suffered rather than because of her music.
If this email was truly sent a year ago, then this was occurring at a time when Kesha was slowly succumbing to the eating disorder that would land her in rehab a few months later in January 2014. When her self-esteem has hit such a low point, and she is dealing with such personal issues, it seems logical to me that her mother would want to resolve this quietly with a threat rather than forcing her daughter to deal with a very messy, very public lawsuit on top of everything else. If this email proves anything to me, it's that this conflict has been going on for far longer than any of us realized and that's a huge tragedy.
However, in a portion of the email not directly quoted by TMZ, they assert that Pebe "complains that Luke screwed her out of music publishing rights connected to her daughter" and that it "[smells] of extortion". However, without direct quotes to back that up, it sounds like Pebe was just doing what she thought was right in order to protect Kesha from what is sounding more and more like a very toxic relationship.