An army of Kesha fans is coming out to defend the pop star in her legal battle against the man who discovered her.
Kesha-lovers and feminists alike bum-rushed Twitter with #FreedomForKesha posts Tuesday—demanding Dr. Luke, her former producer, release her from her contract over allegations that he physically and sexually abused her for years.
As the Free Kesha campaign revved up, Kesha’s attorney Mark Geragos compared her plight to that of Bill Cosby’s rape accusers, saying Dr. Luke is “a vindictive, evil man” and that other victims will come forward in trial.
“He used her, abused her, and that’s how he operates,” Geragos told The Daily Beast. “Ask anybody who’s ever worked with him throughout all this litigation. I defy you to find one artist who has come to his defense.”
But Christine Lepera, an attorney for Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald), called Kesha’s legal woes “entirely of her making.”
“It was Kesha who chose to file a lawsuit falsely alleging abuse to gain advantage in contract negotiations, and now she must accept the consequences of her improper actions,” Lepera said in a statement Monday.
In response, Geragos said Lepera is “blaming the victim” and that her statements are tantamount to telling Bill Cosby’s rape accusers “by coming out publicly, claiming they’re victims, they’ve caused their own problems.”
Lepera did not return messages left by The Daily Beast. However, a spokesman for Dr. Luke said, “This is not about blaming any victim, because Kesha stated in her sworn testimony that she was not a victim,” referring to previous litigation against the singer.
Kesha has accused Gottwald of drugging, raping, and physically abusing her, then holding her career hostage, according to her lawsuit filed in October 2014. The abuse allegedly occurred shortly after Gottwald discovered Kesha—or Kesha Rose Sebert—as an 18-year-old high school student.
Last week, Kesha, 28, pushed for a court injunction to allow her to work with other producers and record labels. She warned her career could plummet “past the point of no return” without it, court records show.
“Dr. Luke has been tyrannical and abusive since our relationship began,” Kesha said in an August 31 affidavit. “I was too young and naive to even understand what he was doing to me.”
She added, “I know I cannot work with Dr. Luke. I physically cannot. I don’t feel safe in any way. He has threatened me many times. ‘Three strikes and you’re out,’ he told me.”
Gottwald, 41, has denied the abuse allegations. In a counterclaim, he accuses Kesha, her mother, Pebe, and her manager of launching “a highly public extortion and smear campaign” to force him to terminate their contract.
The lurid details of Gottwald’s alleged abuse—which Kesha apparently never took to police—have fans calling the songstress a victim of “rape culture” on social media. One supporter posted: “Raped for 10 years, eating disorder followed and is now being punished for speaking out. She can’t speak now, but we can.”
In court papers, Kesha claims Gottwald persuaded her to drop out of high school and leave her home in Nashville, Tennessee for Los Angeles. But after she signed to Gottwald’s music production company, he allegedly turned abusive.
Gottwald would allegedly “boast and brag… about how he liked to take girls out on a first date, get them as drunk as possible, and ‘fuck them in the ass,’” Kesha claims in her suit. Then she allegedly became one of his targets.
On one occasion, the producer allegedly forced her to snort drugs before they got on a flight. Once on the plane, he allegedly forced himself on her while she was intoxicated. She was so drugged up during the flight that she vomited on herself, court filings claim.
Kesha claims that another day, Gottwald forced her to drink with him, then gave her “sober pills.” She woke up the next afternoon, “naked in Dr. Luke’s bed, sore and sick, with no memory of how she got there,” court records charge.
She immediately called her mother and said she was in Gottwald’s hotel room, that he raped her and that she needed to go to the ER. She claims Gottwald gave her GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyrate, also known as the date rape drug.
Sometime after the episode, Gottwald allegedly took her to the beach for a talk and threatened to destroy her career and her family if she told anyone about the rape, according to court records.
“Ms. Sebert wholly believed that Dr. Luke had the power and money to carry out his threats; she therefore never dared talk about, let alone report, what Dr. Luke had done to her,” her lawsuit charges.
Meanwhile, Gottwald allegedly insulted her body weight and songwriting skills—sometimes in front of others—saying things like, “You are not that pretty, you are not that talented, you are just lucky to have me,” and “There are a million other girls out there like you.”
At one point, he allegedly called her a “fat fucking refrigerator.”
Gottwald also allegedly attacked Kesha at his Malibu home, “screaming and violently thrashing his arms at her,” court papers state. She frantically fled his house, running down the Pacific Coast Highway barefoot and climbing into nearby mountains to hide, she claims.
She said his alleged abuse prompted her to suffer from bulimia and in January 2014 seek treatment at a rehab center in Illinois.
Still, Kesha’s current claims are seemingly at odds with previous testimony.
In 2010, Kesha’s former management company, DAS Communications, filed a suit against both her and Gottwald over commissions.
According to the suit, Kesha inked a deal with DAS’s David Sonenberg sometime after Gottwald discovered her and almost went to Warner Bros, Billboard.com reported.
The pop star was complaining about Gottwald as early as 2005, DAS claims. She allegedly told DAS he “engaged in certain unethical and unlawful actions against her and that she did not want Gottwald to be part of her career going forward,” court papers reveal.
Kesha fired DAS three years later. In response to their suit, she said she was “fortunate to have the attention and support of Dr. Luke” and that it was DAS that “poisoned” her relationship with the producer.
“Luke never made sexual advances at me,” Kesha testified back then.