Lawsuits fly: Kesha accuses music producer of sex abuse; he says she’s extorting him
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — The singer Kesha and her producer, Dr. Luke, exchanged harsh accusations in lawsuits filed Tuesday.
Kesha’s civil complaint filed in Los Angeles claims that Dr. Luke sexually, physically and verbally abused her over the 10 years since he signed her as an 18-year-old artist.
Dr. Luke’s lawsuit filed hours later in New York contends Kesha made up “outrageous and untrue statements” to extort him into releasing her from her recording contract with his label.
Her lawsuit demands that she be paid damages for suffering he caused and that her contract with Dr. Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, be declared void because of the abuse.
Kesha, whose full name is Kesha Rose Sebert, was “an intelligent, family-oriented, and joyful young woman” before Dr. Luke “showered her with promises of fame and fortune” and induced her to sign a contract with him in 2005, her lawsuit said.
Instead of living a life of Hollywood glamor, she “lived in a prison of his abuse,” the lawsuit said.
Her complaint accuses him of giving her a “date rape drug” that allowed him to sexually assault her while she was unconscious.
He allegedly used constant verbal insults — such as calling her “a fat f–king refrigerator” — “to make her feel completely worthless and maintain complete control over her life.”
The abuse didn’t end after her debut album sold more than a million copies in the United States in 2010, her complaint said.
“For the past 10 years, Dr. Luke has sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused” her “to the point where Ms. Sebert nearly lost her life,” it said.
Kesha, 27, developed the eating disorder bulimia nervosa, which almost killed her, because of the continuous criticism about her weight by Dr. Luke, according to her complaint.
She entered a rehabilitation center to be treated for the disorder earlier this year, the lawsuit said.
Her doctors concluded that the “unrelenting emotional and psychological abuse” by Dr. Luke caused her to suffer “severe depression, post-traumatic stress, social isolation, and panic attacks.” Continuing contact with him “would be ‘life threatening,'” the lawsuit said.
Kesha’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, said her lawsuit “is a wholehearted effort by Kesha to regain control of her music career and her personal freedom after suffering for 10 years as a victim of mental manipulation, emotional abuse and sexual assault at the hands of Dr. Luke.”
“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,” Geragos said.
Christine Lepera, the lawyer who filed the suit for Dr. Luke, said Kesha’s complaint “is nothing more than a continuation of her bad and offensive acts.”
“As set forth in the complaint that we have filed on behalf of Dr. Luke, Kesha and her mother are engaged in a campaign of publishing outrageous and untrue statements about Dr. Luke to third parties, including scurrilous and false statements of purported physical and mental abuse of Kesha,” Lepera said.
“We are confident that Dr. Luke will prevail in all matters, and that our client will be awarded substantial damages for this malicious conduct,” Lepera said.
Geragos said the singer is ready to put the past behind her.
“This is just another pathetic and entirely predictable example of Dr. Luke’s continued abuse, and a misguided attempt to keep Kesha under his tyrannical control,” Geragos said.