A New York judge has denied Kesha‘s attempt to get an injunction against Dr. Luke Friday in the singer’s ongoing legal battle against the producer. Kesha’s injunction would have allowed her to record new music outside of Luke’s Kemosabe Records, which lies under the Sony Music umbrella. However, New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich sided with Dr. Luke and Sony, telling Kesha’s legal team after being briefed on the longstanding legal feud, “You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry.”
In October 2014, Kesha sued Dr. Luke, accusing him of drugging, raping and abusing her a decade ago; Dr. Luke has denied all charges. The producer’s lawyers argued that Kesha made up the allegations as an attempt to nullify her contract with Dr. Luke and Sony; Dr. Luke also countersued Kesha and her mother Pebe Sebert. While that lawsuit plays out in a separate courtroom, Kesha’s lawyer Mark Geragos asked for an injunction because, as he told the judge, the career of a pop star is often brief, and Kesha’s career could be “irreparably harmed” if she did not return to recording music, Billboard reports.
Dr. Luke and Sony argued that Kesha has been given permission to record without Dr. Luke’s input or presence in the studio while still honoring her Kemosabe/Sony contract, but the singer has declined to do so. “There has been no showing of irreparable harm. She’s being given opportunity to record,” Judge Kornreich said in denying the injunction. Kesha will have to record six more albums under Kemosabe Records, New York Daily News reports on the details of Kesha’s contract.
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The judge also dismissed Kesha’s argument that Sony was “setting her up to fail,” calling that theory speculative. “You’re asking me to presume an entity like Sony, who is in a competitive position … will not want to make money on their investment,” the judge said (via Buzzfeed). A lawyer for Sony added, “Our interest is in [Kesha’s] success. Our interest is in Dr. Luke’s success. They are not in the least bit mutually exclusive.”
“We are pleased with the Court’s decision from the bench fully denying Ms. Sebert’s motion for a preliminary injunction,” Christine Lepera, Dr. Luke’s attorney, tells Rolling Stone. “As the Court recognized, Ms. Sebert has always had the ability to proceed with her career if she so chooses. We remain confident that when all the facts are presented that Ms. Sebert’s allegations against Luke will be shown to be completely false and were asserted solely to extort money and gain contractual leverage.”
A Sony representative declined to comment, citing the company’s policy on not commenting on ongoing litigation.
After denying the preliminary injunction, the judge reviewed the counterclaims presented by Kesha and her lawyers about the sexual abuse and harassment she claims to have endured during her time working with Dr. Luke. The hearing ended with the judge reserving on a motion to dismiss the counterclaims until Kesha’s camp filed more evidence on the alleged abuse.
A Rolling Stone reporter inside the courthouse said Kesha, who was accompanied by her mother and boyfriend Brad Ashenfelter during the hearing, was visibly crying in the back row of the courtroom as the judge denied her preliminary injunction. Around 50 Kesha fans, many wearing glitter and wigs, gathered outside the Manhattan courthouse in a show of support for Kesha, singing her hits in unison. Following the court proceedings, Kesha met and hugged her fans outside.
“We’re not going to stop fighting for her,” Michael Eisele, the 18-year-old organizer of the #FreeKesha protest told Rolling Stone after the hearing. Eisele insists that he and his fellow protestors will finalize their next course of action. “We’re not done with this. This is not over. We’re not going to lose momentum.”
Additional reporting by Brittany Spanos