According to New York judge Jennifer Schecter, Kesha’s 2016 text messages to Lady Gaga claiming that Dr. Luke had raped Katy Perry, are defamatory. The ruling comes just a week after Kesha released her fourth studio album, High Road.
Kesha’s legal team had argued that Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) was a public figure, and therefore Kesha’s texts could not be considered defamatory in this context. The judge disagreed.
“Gottwald certainly is not a ‘general public figure,’” Schecter’s ruling reads, “Although he may be well known in music-industry circles, he has ever been a household name or achieved general pervasive fame and notoriety in the community.”
Gottwald, who owns two publishing companies and is the producer with the third most entires on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart ever, was previously named the Number One Hot 100 Songwriter of the Year and the Number One Producer of the Year in 2010, the same year he appeared solo on the cover of Billboard, the magazine that awarded him the titles.
He was also well-known enough to be called the “most successful producer and songwriter” all the way back in 2011 by Advertising Age. That same year he was nominated for two Grammy’s, and would be nominated for two more in 2014, after appearing on another magazine cover, The Source, with Juicy J in 2013.
All things considered, those accolades and awards would certainly, if not on their own than perhaps taken as a collective, make someone at least generally notable, but hey, what do I know.
In addition to ruling in favor of Dr. Luke regarding the accusations of defamation, Schecter also ordered Kesha pay Dr. Luke $373,671.88 in interest for late royalties he claims that he is owed. Kesha’s team had argued that the contract warranting those payments was unconscionable and fraudulent.
While this is not a ruling on the entirety of the case between the two (Schecter made sure to clarify that this was not a determination on whether or not Kesha was raped by Dr. Luke, the claim that began this legal back and fourth in 2014), it’s obviously not the outcome Kesha’s team was hoping for.
“We disagree with the Court’s rulings. We plan to immediately appeal,” they said in a statement to BBC News.
The remaining lawsuit, which Schecter referenced, regards further defamation and breach of contract, and will be sought to be resolved in a forthcoming trial. Dr. Luke is seeking recovery for the “serious harm” Kesha’s accusations have caused his career.
For what it’s worth, since Kesha first came froward in 2014 Dr. Luke has produced work for Ne-Yo, Fergie, Pitbull, R. Kelley, Jennifer Lopez, and most recently in 2019 for Kim Petras and Doja Cat.