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Kesha says she was offered “freedom” in exchange for publicly retracting rape claims against music producer

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Amy Swales
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Singer Kesha has claimed she was offered a way out of her recording contract if she publicly retracted her allegation that she was sexually abused for years by a music producer.

Kesha filed a lawsuit again Dr Luke (real name Lukasz Gottwald) in 2014 alleging, among other things, sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and emotional distress over a 10-year period.

In February, her request for a preliminary injunction to release her from her contract with Sony's Kemosabe Records, run by Gottwald, was turned down by a judge and she is still under contract to record three more albums.

Now the singer, 29, has posted a message on Instagram saying she was asked by an unnamed party to publicly backtrack, and implied she'd be released from her contract in return.

She wrote: “I got offered my freedom IF i were to lie. I would have to APOLOGIZE publicly and say that I never got raped. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS behind closed doors. I will not take back the TRUTH. I would rather let the truth ruin my career than lie for a monster ever again.”

Gottwald has responded to the claim, with a spokesperson telling Rolling Stone: “The Court repeatedly stated Kesha is already free to record without Dr Luke, and that she had not presented any facts supporting her claims. That’s because all the evidence – including Kesha’s own videotaped sworn testimony – show her allegations are false.

“The only thing Kesha is not free to do is to continue to lie about Dr Luke through publicity stunts and outrageous smears, ignoring the fact that by her own free will she went to work and entered into new contracts with Dr Luke years after this ‘incident’ supposedly happened. Her goal all along has been solely personal enrichment by seeking to break contracts that brought her success and millions so she can enter into more lucrative ones. We look forward to our day in court holding Kesha accountable for her lies.”

The sexual abuse case will go before the court next year and her lawyers have filed an appeal against February's ruling, centring on the realities of Kesha being able to work with Gottwald's companies even if they say he won't be directly involved, and on the alleged damage the recording hiatus has and could do to her music career.

Free kesha supporters protest sony music

Free Kesha supporters protested Sony Music in March

According to E!, which saw a copy of the appeal, her legal team asserted: “First, the Court erred in basing its decision on its finding that Kesha could record without interference from Gottwald.

“Although it recognized that ‘slavery was done away with a long time ago’ and that ‘[y]ou can't force someone to work... in a situation in which they don't want to work,’ the Court's ruling requiring Kesha to work for Gottwald's companies, purportedly without his involvement, does just that. As the Court itself recognized, ‘[i]t's slavery. You can't do that.’”

And while the judge said no irreparable harm had been done to Kesha's career, Kesha’s lawyers say they have affidavits from several people in music industry to prove that “a young pop star's fame will fade quickly, and permanently, due to a loss of momentum. Indeed, New York courts have found irreparable harm to the careers of young musicians like Kesha where those careers are fleeting and in danger of destruction if not timely pursued.”

Lady Gaga Free Kesha Instagram

Lady Gaga posted this picture on Instagram in support of Kesha

The case has attracted a lot of attention on social media thanks to the #FreeKesha hashtag enabling thousands to offer their support and outrage, and in recent months, several big-hitting stars have publicly stood up for the singer; not least Adele mentioning her at the Brits and Lady Gaga dedicating her powerful Oscars performance of Til It Happens To You.

Gaga, who has spoken about her own experience of assault in the music industry, said in March: “I just want to stand by her side because I can’t watch another woman that went through what I’ve been through suffer, you know? And have everyone have a go at her as if, you know, she’s lying.

“I talk to her every day. I’m friends with her personally and what I’m watching her go through is not only something I’ve been through, but something that’s really devastating to witness.”

Meanwhile, various other stars have also spoken out, with Lena Dunham writing a Lenny Letter and Taylor Swift donating $250,000 (approximately £175,000) to “meet any of the singer’s financial needs”.

Kesha released an emotional statement on Facebook thanking artists and fans for their support following the February ruling, writing: “Other entertainers who knowingly put their own careers at stake by supporting me, I will be forever grateful.

“This case has never been about a renegotiation of my record contract – it was never about getting a bigger, or a better deal,” she wrote. “This is about being free from my abuser. I would be willing to work with Sony if they do the right thing and break all ties that bind me to my abuser.”

Images: @iiswhoiis / @ladygaga / Rex Features

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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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