Judge nixes singer Kesha’s sexual abuse claims vs. producer
NEW YORK (AP) — Pop star Kesha’s claims that producer Dr. Luke violated human rights and hate crime laws by drugging, sexually abusing and emotionally tormenting her were dismissed Wednesday, with a judge saying that rape isn’t necessarily an act of gender hatred.
Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich ruled in the platinum-selling singer’s civil-court clash with the hit-making producer, who denies the singer’s accusations and hasn’t been charged with any crime.
Kesha’s claims that Dr. Luke violated her rights by raping and abusing her can’t go forward because the alleged incidents happened outside New York, stretch beyond legal time limits and don’t meet the high legal bar for “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” the judge said.
“Her claims of insults about her value as an artist, her looks and her weight are insufficient to constitute extreme, outrageous conduct intolerable in a civilized society,” Kornreich wrote, adding that Kesha didn’t say that Dr. Luke’s alleged attacks were spurred by animus toward women.
“Every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime,” the judge wrote.
Lawyers for the “Tik Tok” singer didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the ruling, which left standing a portion of Kesha’s claims involving contract issues.
Lawyers for Dr. Luke and Sony Music Entertainment — his partner in Kesha’s record label, Kemosabe Records, and a defendant against her claims — declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Kesha is appealing an earlier refusal to free her from her contract, Dr. Luke’s breach-of-contract claims against her are ongoing, and so are California and Tennessee lawsuits surrounding a dispute that has rippled through the entertainment business.
Kesha fans have called on Sony to sever ties with Dr. Luke. The maker of an upcoming PBS miniseries about pop music has said he’s considering cutting scenes with Dr. Luke, and Kesha has gotten an outpouring of support from celebrities, including Taylor Swift, Adele and Lady Gaga.
Kesha has said she can’t work with a “monster” whom she accuses of raping her a decade ago after giving her a pill that knocked her out. She also said he bullied her to lose weight until she was so traumatized that she developed an eating disorder and spent two months in a rehabilitation clinic in 2014.
Dr. Luke says she’s fabricating accusations to sully him in hopes of getting out of her five-album contract.
“Kesha and I were friends for many years and she was like my little sister,” he wrote on Twitter in February.
His lawyers note that during sworn questioning in another lawsuit in 2011, Kesha said Dr. Luke “never made sexual advances” toward her or gave her the date-rape drug known as a “roofie.”
Her lawyers say she was too afraid of him to speak up at the time.
Born Lukas Gottwald, Dr. Luke has produced some of the biggest pop hits of the past decade, working with stars including Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Kelly Clarkson and Nicki Minaj.
The Associated Press does not generally name people who report being sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, as Kesha has done.
Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter @ jennpeltz.