February 25, 2016

#FreeKesha: The Verdict & Why the Evidence is Irrelevant.

Singer Kesha

The pop-singer Kesha’s case is raging right now and I am enraged by the rage.

Follow me? I don’t suppose you will.

I may be an incoherent bumbling idiot whilst put together this complete stab towards Sony and Dr. Luke. Let me explain: my enragement about the rage has to do with the timing and the focus.

As a society, our care factor has to do with what’s popping at any given moment by media instead of caring enough to decrease the number of things that may pop in the first place.

If, for instance, verbal, mental and physical abuse of women was taken more seriously by the American public writ large, people would either be less inclined to do it or they would be dealt with in a more swift fashion—both of which would lessen the impact.

While I am pro-Kesha all the way, America’s focus on her should extend to the women without the voice and the legions of followers.

As I type this, 24 women are being raped every minute.

Who and where are the perpetrators? Like the question of how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know. (Yes, I chose to be slightly humorous here because I cannot let my anger for the perp’s overwhelm my message.)

The overly logical and generally conservative observer of the Kesha’s court case may note that there is no evidence that Dr. Luke physically assaulted her or abused and took advantage of her with drugs.

From what I’ve read, there is merely the word of Kesha against the word of Dr. Luke. My care factor, however, with this lack of evidence, is at a negative twelve, at least as it applies to Kesha being able to move forward.

If Dr. Luke were an honorable man, he would have marched up to the Sony office and urged them to release Kesha from her contract. This has nothing to do with whether he did anything to her and everything to do with him knowing her state of mind and level of comfort.

I fully understand Dr. Luke, or anyone who feels they are innocent, defending himself publicly like he has but it would be quite easy to defend himself and still protect her. He could explain to them that while he protests his innocence, he does not want to put himself or Kesha or Sony in a state of discomfort.

But no, he decided to fight tooth and nail on all fronts. It’s as if he wants to win and keep her under his thumb in some way. Strange for an innocent guy, eh?

There are also those from the same point of view that would suggest that Sony ought not pay for the sins of Dr. Luke and she is not required to work with Dr. Luke as her producer. Sony will be flexible with her recording location and the people she works with. Fa la la la la.

To those I say:

When you believe that your abuser has gone unchecked by the company that is writing your check than you are not going to be comfortable doing sound checks in the same vicinity of the abuser or the company. It’s like telling a woman that is being abused by her husband to just sleep in a different room. Exactly. (Serenity now, serenity…)

Thousands of women saw what Sony and Dr. Luke did, as well as the verdict from the judge that refused to let Kesha out of her contract and these women could give a hill of beans about the contract. The message they received is that a woman that said she was abused just lost to big money, a man and the legal system.

I wonder if it will deter them from reporting a cycle of abuse they are going through? And by the way, my wonder lasted about an eighth of a second. Of course it will deter them. And there will be casualties.

I know that Dr. Luke has decided that his own pride and self preservation is more important than the comfort of someone else. And by comfort, I’m not talking about Wrangler jeans and a damn feather pillow. I am talking about the comfort of the head, the heart and the soul.

These are things that don’t get healed when one of the greatest healing powers, music, is also your career, and you are forced to express yourself in the same vicinity that has just marginalized your comfort.

So yeah, I don’t know all the facts of the case.

I could not swear under oath that Dr. Luke did anything in the neighborhood of physical or drug abuse to or with Kesha. But I do know that Dr. Luke and Sony have just deterred abuse victims from coming forward and delayed the comfort of a singer that makes people happy for a living and yet can’t find a happy bone in her body whilst she is trapped in a contract with a bunch of hacks that have no regard for the impact they just made.

Speaking of, isn’t this the same corporation hat was hacked and within those hacks was found to be experienced in the unequal pay of women?

P.S. A popular reply from Sony, Dr. Luke and the overly logical and conservative has been that if Kesha can get out of her contract for this, what’s to stop any artist from getting out of their contract for this or lesser accusations? To which I say, if I owned a company and I was worried about people filling complaints or breaking the terms of a contract, I would likely ask myself what kind of culture I have created that would lead to such complaints and breaks—just throwing it out there in case you want to catch it.


Author: Chris Armstrong

Editor: Sara Kärpänen

Photo: Gavin Huang / WikiMedia Commons

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