The Sinister Side of the Glitz Gambit: Sexual Assault in the Music Industry

By Scotti Morris

When people think of the Hollywood lifestyle, they do not consider that egregious acts, such as sexual assault, could impact or affect celebrities. Yet, pop singer Kesha, famous for her techno dance music, is currently being blacklisted by the music industry for speaking out against one of these offenses.

Kesha faces a taunting choice: receive closure and justice for her sexual assault or lose her career.

Last year, Kesha accused Dr. Luke, her producer, of emotionally and sexually abusing her ever since she signed to his record label at 18 years of age.

Dr. Luke is a renowned songwriter with roots as a guitarist on Saturday Night Live, who has also produced hits for Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and One Direction. Dr. Luke has produced Kesha’s hit records like “Tik Tok” and “Your Love is My Drug.”

Recently, Kesha added Sony as a defendant due to their lack of intervention and allowing Dr. Luke’s abuse to continue with a blind eye.  

Kesha is currently pursuing a legal injunction that will allow her to record music without Dr. Luke’s label. According to Kesha, Dr. Luke subjected her to sexual abuse such as drugging and raping while she recorded with him. According to Eriq Gardner of The Hollywood Reporter, Dr. Luke denied Kesha’s allegations, and he even argues that Kesha is simply trying to “extort him in order to get out from contracts with Luke’s Kemosabe Records label, housed under Sony” .

Kesha, however, describes many instances attributing to sexual abuse and coercion by Dr. Luke in her court documents. Kesha recalls Dr. Luke’s actions by detailing events such as the producer pressuring her to drop out of high school, manipulating her to consume “sober pills” which she now believes to have been the date rape drug gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (more commonly known as GHB), and the lawsuit even describes an instance in which Kesha woke up in the producer’s bed naked and in pain, which no recollection as to how she ended up there.

Kesha also recalls Dr. Luke describing heinous and graphic accounts of sexually assaulting intoxicated women and even “blackmailing his pregnant wife into getting an abortion by not speaking to her for six months and threatening to leave.” Additionally, Kesha blames Dr. Luke for emotional manipulation that caused her to develop an eating disorder, as he would call her as large as “a refrigerator.”  

Kesha is not the only pop star facing a legal battle pertaining to sexual harassment.

Denver radio host David Mueller made headlines in September for filing a lawsuit against Grammy award-winning artist Taylor Swift by claiming she falsely accused him of inappropriately touching her buttocks in June 2013. Mueller was fired two days after Swift’s bodyguards implicated Mueller had groped Swift while the two and Mueller’s girlfriend took a photo, and Mueller now desires to earn back his reputation and receive compensation for losing his job.

Mueller filed the case in US District Court of Denver, and he asserts that “no inappropriate contact of any kind occurred between him and Ms. Swift.” Additionally, he argues that Swift had been touched inappropriately by his boss Eddie Haskell, and Haskell had even confided to Mueller that he touched Swift’s buttocks.

Swift filed a counter lawsuit last week, asserting that Mueller was in fact that one who had sexually assaulted her. According to the documents Swift filed, Swift “knows exactly who committed the assault—it was Mueller—and she is not confused in the slightest about whether her long-term business acquaintance, Mr. Haskell, was the culprit.”

Swift also asserts in the court document that “Mueller did not merely brush his hand against Ms. Swift while posing for the photograph: he lifted her skirt and groped her,” and that she was overwhelmed and affected by the act, even though she had to perform on stage after.

According to Swift, should she win this case, she assures that any winnings will go to a charity “dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard,” and she hopes that by filing this countersuit that she is encouraging women who have experienced sexual harassment or assault to come forward and report their ordeal.

Celebrities are not an exception to sexual assault, but their presence in the spotlight contributes to a much needed discussion about society and sexual assault. Addressing such issues can lead to a re-evaluation on how the media and public perception discredits the victims of such discrepancies.

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