Kesha has filed a lawsuit against producer Dr. Luke, claiming he “sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused” her over the past decade that has “put her life at risk,” according to the suit. The suit says that Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, began making sexual advances toward her from the time she signed with him at age 18 and that he allegedly forced her to imbibe drugs and alcohol to lower her inhibitions.
Kesha is asking for a judge to release her from her contract with Gottwald.
The pop star claims that at one point, Luke made her snort a substance before boarding a plane and, when in flight, sexually assaulted her while she was drugged. At another, he allegedly gave her “sober pills,” which she later learned were GHB; she woke up the next day naked in the producer’s bed, feeling sore and out of it, with no recollection of how she got there. She also recalled an incident where the producer allegedly came at her “violently thrashing his arms,” prompting her to run barefoot down Pacific Coast Highway and hide in the mountains.
“He also threatened her and her family’s physical safety,” one section of the lawsuit reads. “[Kesha] wholly believed that Dr. Luke had the power and money to carry out his threats.”
The abuse, Kesha claims, prompted the eating disorder that pushed her to enter rehab earlier this year. “You are not that pretty,” he allegedly told her. “You are not that talented. You are just lucky to have me.” He also reportedly called the singer a “fat fucking refrigerator.”
“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 pop star’s attorney, Mark Geragos, tells Rolling Stone. “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.”
A label representative for Kesha did not immediately return a request for comment.
The same day that Kesha filed her suit, Gottwald also filed one against the singer alleging defamation and breach of contract. The producers suit claimed that Kesha fabricated her allegations and that she had threatened to feed lies to a blogger. He claimed that he had had a copy of Kesha’s lawsuit for months and that she and her mother were attempting to extort him to release her from his contract or they would file the suit. “We are confident that Dr. Luke will prevail in all matters, and that our client will be awarded substantial damages for this malicious conduct,” his attorney told Rolling Stone.
Kesha and Dr. Luke have been in a protracted battle for months over the direction of the singer’s music and career. In January, Kesha’s mom Pebe Sebert accused the producer of contributing to the singer’s eating disorder. “These statements and allegations concerning Dr. Luke are completely false,” the producer’s rep told People. “It is unfortunate that at a time Kesha is suffering immensely and trying to heal at a treatment center, her mother is taking this approach with the media. I give Kesha my utmost support and well wishes for a quick return to health.”
In July, Kesha spoke for the first time about her stint in rehab in an op-ed for Elle U.K. She blamed accepted perceptions of beauty – and the music industry that perpetuates them – and the prevalence of paparazzi as the reasons for her eating disorder at the time. “I feel stronger now,” she wrote. “Strong enough to admit that I needed help and strong enough to have faced it head on…. Even I need to be reminded that we are who we are.”
Last year, Kesha’s fans started a petition to free her from her contract with Dr. Luke, claiming he was “controlling [her] like a puppet.” “I feel like my fans are really protective of me,” she told Rolling Stone last October. “They just want to see me grow as an artist, which I agree with. Hopefully in the future, I’ll be in a position where I can put out a ballad or a more vulnerable song.”
When asked if she had any creative control, she said, “not really.” “What’s been put out as singles have just perpetuated a particular image that may or may not be entirely accurate,” she said. “I’d like to show the world other sides of my personality. I don’t want to just continue putting out the same song and becoming a parody of myself. I have so much more to offer than that and I can’t wait [until] the world really gets to hear that on the radio.”