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The Story Behind #FreeKesha

Kesha Rose Sebert, known best as simply Kesha, vaulted to fame for her dance-inspired pop tracks like “Tik Tok” and “We R Who We R.” After a few years in the spotlight, Kesha was hospitalized in 2014 for an eating disorder. It was eventually revealed that this eating disorder was exacerbated by her producer, Lukasz Gottwald, known professionally as Dr. Luke. Dr. Luke is who Kesha claims drugged and raped her for ten years.

Since this confession, Kesha has been fighting to get out of her contract with Dr. Luke and Sony Records. The preliminary hearing held Friday, Feb. 19, was to decide whether a temporary suspension would be allowed. However, New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich ruled in Sony’s favor, not allowing the singer-songwriter to breach her contract, which has Kesha producing albums with Dr. Luke for the next six years if she wants to continue to make music. Kesha broke down in tears during the court case, an image that was snapped by paparazzi and shared across social media.

Since the results of the case came back, fans have taken to social media, getting #FreeKesha trending. Several people have even called for a boycott of Sony. Many celebrities have shared their support, including Taylor Swift, who donated $250,000 to help pay Kesha’s legal fees. Jack Antonoff and Zedd have even offered to help Kesha record and leak the music in spite of Sony.

Master of Science in Management at Wake Forest

However, social media has shifted some of the focus off of Kesha and turned it into a battle between which celebrities are reaching out to help and who’s staying quiet. For instance, after Kesha’s mom released information about Swift’s donation, Demi Lovato later shaded many, tweeting, “Take something to Capitol Hill or actually speak out about something and then I’ll be impressed.” Swift fans immediately came after Lovato, sparking a conversation about Lovato herself and the intent of the tweet, rather than Kesha’s court case.

While Lovato certainly spoke boldly in the tweet, she does raise a good point. Swift’s donation was welcome, but it doesn’t really solve the root of the problem. The court system failed more than just Kesha, and continues to fail many more victims of sexual abuse.

In a heartfelt statement on her Facebook page, Kesha reiterates this. After thanking everyone for their support, Kesha explained that that this court case was bigger than her: “I don’t think that my case is giving people who have been abused confidence that they can speak out, and that’s a problem.”

There is still a chance for Kesha to break her contract with Sony. Both teams of lawyers will be given time to collect evidence and witnesses. Unfortunately, the process isn’t estimated to wrap up until around February 2017. After that, a judge will pick a court date, which could be months later. Until then, Kesha either continues to produce no music or she will be forced to produce it with Dr. Luke and Sony.

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