As his legal battle with Kesha drags on, a report emerged yesterday that Sony had ended its relationship with Dr. Luke. The music producer has been locked in a legal battle with the singer since 2014.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dr. Luke has been removed as CEO of Kemosabe Records, the Sony-owned label he started in 2011. The report also noted that Sony had removed Dr. Luke's page from the music giant's website.
Members of the #FreeKesha movement quickly took to Twitter to celebrate what some saw as a victory for the long-tortured artist. Fans had a new hashtag for the victory party - #DrLukeIsOverParty.However, as The Hollywood Reporter pointed out, while some fans might see today's update as a victory for Kesha, this news could be a boost for Dr. Luke's defamation lawsuit against the songbird.
"Although any split would be seen in some respects as a victory for the 'Free Kesha' movement, there are two potential problems for Kesha. First, in her own court papers, she previously cited reports that Sony's deal with Dr. Luke was imminently about to end and warned the judge that she'd no longer have Sony as a go-between, making her situation worse. Second, Dr. Luke's defamation claims against her are still pending, and in advance of the trial, his attorneys have been collecting evidence about how his career has suffered as a result of her rape allegations. Certainly, the culmination of Dr. Luke's deal with Sony will be spotlighted as the case moves forward."If Sony really did end their relationship with Dr. Luke, his attorneys could claim that it was due to Kesha's allegations and the singer would probably notch yet another loss in the legal column.However, Page Six obtained a statement from Linda Carbone, Dr. Luke's rep, that indicated that Sony had not severed ties the producer.
"They (Sony) are not cutting ties. Can't get into details but they do have continuing relationship involving Kemosabe."A second source added that while Dr. Luke is out as CEO of Kemosabe Records, he will still be working with Sony.
The two sides have been engaged in courtroom drama since 2014 when Kesha filed a lawsuit against Dr. Luke. The lawsuit included accusations of sexual assault and battery, emotional distress, sexual harassment, and gender violence. Kesha sought a release from her recording contract with the producer.
Within hours of Kesha's filing, TMZ reported that Dr. Luke filed his own lawsuit for defamation and extortion. He alleged the singer, under the influence of her mother and her new management team, was attempting to extort him, in an effort to get her contract voided. He also claimed that she threatened to release damaging information about the producer to a pro-Kesha blogger.
In what seemed like tit-for-tat legal wrangling, Kesha's mother, Pebe Sebert, hit Dr. Luke with her own lawsuit for PTSD. In her lawsuit, Sebert said that knowledge of what she believed had occurred to her daughter led to emotional distress and medical issues. Two weeks later, Dr. Luke later filed a defamation lawsuit against Kesha's attorney, Mark Geragos, for insinuating that Dr. Luke had raped pop star, Lady Gaga.Since she filed her first lawsuit, Kesha has not released any new music. Some fans worried that the singer would become an outcast in the music industry or go bankrupt trying to fight for a release from her contract. However, the singer has found an outpouring of support from her fellow pop stars, including Adele, Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Taylor Swift, who donated $250,000 towards Kesha's legal fund. Two female artists who worked with Dr. Luke previously, Charli XCX and Becky G, admitted that they had felt body shamed by the producer.
While she may the support of many celebrities, it hasn't translated well inside the courtroom. The majority of Kesha's lawsuits, motions, requests for injunctions, and appeals have been dismissed by a New York judge. New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich dismissed the pop star's claims regarding harassment, emotional distress, and hate crimes, but allowed the contractual issues in Kesha's lawsuit to proceed.
Kornreich has come under fire after it was revealed that her husband is Ed Kornreich, a partner in the New York-based law firm, Proskauer Rose. The firm counts Sony as one of its many clients. Legal expert Troy Slaten told E! News that Kornreich should have recused herself from the case to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
Last month, Kornreich was criticized when a 10-page opinion appeared to engage in victim-blaming. Jezebel recapped the ruling, where the judge dismissed one of Kesha's countersuit.
"Somehow, the judge also suggested that Kesha should have been aware that working with Dr. Luke would result in the kind of abuse she's alleging. 'Finally, with respect to the Prescription Agreement, signed in November 2008, Gottwald's allegedly abusive behavior was foreseeable,' the judge wrote."Gottwald is a reference to Dr. Luke's birth name, Lukasz Gottwald.
As Kesha fans await the outcome of the pending suits, there could be some good news. In her legal filings earlier this year, Kesha's attorney stated that she had recorded 28 new songs last August and submitted them to Kemosabe Records for approval. With Dr. Luke now out at Kemosabe Records, could Kesha's new album on the way?Whose side are you on? Do you think Kesha has been treated unfairly or is Dr. Luke a victim of a smear campaign? Are you excited for her new album? Do you think the New York judge should have recused herself?
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]