When the New York State Supreme Court judge denied Kesha’s request for an injunction last week, she openly sobbed in the courtroom as Sony revealed its unsatisfactory stance on rape and misogyny. Celebrities and fans alike publicly spoke out on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, voicing their support for the pop star who has alleged that her producer, Dr. Luke, sexually and emotionally abused her for years.
Female artists like Miley Cyrus, Haim, and Fiona Apple voiced their support for Kesha. Demi Lovato also chimed in on Twitter before stating that she’s “also ready for self-proclaimed feminists to start speaking out or taking action for women’s rights” and launching a slew of tweets about hypocrisy in feminism. Supposedly Lovato was referring to Taylor Swift, who had yet to comment on the ordeal. A few hours later, Swift’s spokesperson released a statement revealing that Swift had donated $250,000 to Kesha to help cover any financial stress. This apparently wasn’t enough for Lovato, as she took to Twitter again to say that she wasn't impressed.
Demi Lovato is a strong woman with a powerhouse voice, which is why I was disappointed to see her sinking to the level of attacking other women, especially during such a (possibly) revolutionary case. When an emotionally and musically trapped pop star is accusing her producer of abuse, it is important to rally behind her. It is not important to start more drama. The Kesha issue is multifaceted: women need to band together, and the music industry needs to protect victims, regardless of bureaucratic politics.
I understand the frustration regarding Swift’s silence, especially after her Grammy's ‘girl power’ speech. Right now, getting mad at Swift for her faux pas du jour is not the point. Instead, we as women should be focusing our efforts on highlighting Kesha’s own narrative instead of pushing personal agendas or policing other celebrities' speech.
Clearly, money is the only thing that talks in the music industry, but Swift’s open letter to Apple criticizing free music streaming and its economic effect on artists changed the game for the music industry. A statement on Kesha from her camp would hold a lot of weight.
In addition, a statement from a male artist would hold a lot of weight. Where are the men? There have been far too few speaking out in support of Kesha, and in an industry run by men, they, unfortunately, yield most of the power. Their silence is loud. It is siding with Sony and ignoring Kesha’s turbulent years of battling for control of her own life.
Kesha’s case isn’t just about payday. It’s about the United States’ court system’s inability to protect victims of sexual abuse. It’s about publicly streaking a scarlet “A” across Kesha’s reputation. Kesha isn’t charging Dr. Luke with rape or any crime. She is simply trying to free herself from working with a man who has emotionally and physically tormented her for years.
Dr. Luke’s own contract ends with Sony this year, so logistically, the waters are already getting murkier. Sony needs to free Kesha from her contract. From a PR standpoint, it’s smart and unprecedented; and from a moral standpoint, it’s simply the right thing to do.
Meg Zukin PZ '17 is originally from the Silicon Valley, majors in Media Studies and minors in nothing.