Kesha Appeals Injunction Denial, Lawyer Questionably Compares Contract to 'Slavery'

Illustration for article titled Kesha Appeals Injunction Denial, Lawyer Questionably Compares Contract to 'Slavery'

In mid-February, a New York judge refused the request for a preliminary injunction that would free Kesha from her Sony contract after claims that her producer Dr. Luke had repeatedly sexually and physically abused her. Now, Kesha has appealed that court decision.


As the A.V. Club reports, Kesha’s attorney filed new papers, “[referring] to a section of the original judge’s ruling that claims ‘you can’t force someone to a situation in which they don’t want to work,’ arguing that the court is doing precisely that by preventing Kesha from getting out of her contract.” Judge Kornreich, who told a sobbing Kesha, “my instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing,” claimed that dissolving the contract would cause Sony “irreparable harm.”

Kesha’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, argues that the court has not sufficiently considered how Kesha would be harmed if forced to continue in this contractual agreement. He claims that “the judge didn’t give enough weight to testimony from music industry people about how badly this could damage Kesha’s career and notes that any ‘potential harm’ that may come to Sony if it loses Kesha could be solved with money, while Kesha is unable to make music (or money) while she’s under this contract.”

Rolling Stone points out that Kesha’s lawyers also compared this contract to “slavery” (one must hold one’s horses when comparing things to slavery, really) while additionally implying that the provision saying Kesha could record at Sony without Dr. Luke’s direct involvement is a shady one. “Slavery was done away with a long time ago,” the pre-argument statement says. “[But] the court’s ruling requiring Kesha to work for Gottwald’s companies, purportedly without his involvement, does just that.”

There have been recent rumors of Sony attempting to sever ties with Dr. Luke, although they have been denied by his representatives, and may not have an impact on the court proceedings.

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Isn’t “slavery” (of a kind) what this is all about, though? Forcing Kesha to work against her will, bound by a contract entered into under false pretenses (Dr. Luke has my best interests at heart / is not a rapist) is a kind of enslavement. She is being treated as this man’s legal property.

If your argument is “This is a multimillion dollar recording contract!” the first definition of slavery says nothing about whether the slave is paid or not and the second suggests “without proper renumeration or appreciation.”

I get that the word is loaded; I get that you can’t say it without alluding to the African slave trade. But the word has a purpose and a function to describe things outside that cultural baggage it carries. And to me this seems like an appropriate time to use it.