‘While Kesha is indefinitely silenced, her voice has never been louder’
Since the outcome of Kesha’s court case against Dr Luke was revealed last Friday, there has been a huge public outpouring of support for the pop singer, including a long line of individuals within the entertainment industry. Taylor Swift has given $250,000 to help cover her legal fees, while Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande have tweeted their support. And now, Lena Dunham has spoken out in solidarity with Kesha in an essay for her weekly feminist newsletter Lenny.
“When I saw the outcome of Kesha’s court case last Friday, I felt sick. Actually sick – I wanted to ask my Uber to pull over so I could throw up in a New York City trash can,” the Girls creator wrote. “The photos of her beautiful face crumpled with tears, the legally necessary but sickening use of the word ‘alleged’ over and over in reference to the assault she says she remembers so vividly – it all created a special brand of nausea that comes when public events intersect with your most private triggers. I last experienced this when Rolling Stone botched a campus-assault narrative and as a result left millions of women exposed to doubt. I cried in a mini-mall in Brussels, imagining all the college-age girls suddenly changing their minds about coming forward against their rapists.”
Dunham then goes onto describe the case, before commenting: “To be clear, Kesha’s case is about more than a pop star fighting for her freedom… what’s happening to Kesha highlights the way that the American legal system continues to hurt women by failing to protect them from the men they identify as their abusers.”
“The fact is, Kesha will never have a doctor’s note. She will never have a videotape that shows us that Gottwald (Dr Luke) threatened and shamed her, and she will never be able to prove, beyond the power of her testimony, that she is unsafe doing business with this man. And no, none of this was in her contract. But what man, what company endeavours to keep a woman saddled with someone who she says has caused her years of trauma, shame, and fear? Fighting this fight publicly and in the legal system has already changed the course and tenor of her career forever. The lack of perspective on the part of Sony – the inability to look at the worth of a woman’s platinum records versus the worth of her soul being intact – is horrifying.
“The public outcry about Kesha’s case has been truly heartening: the swell of shock and indignation from fans and fellow performers alike. It wasn’t long ago that women in the public eye didn’t have a loose-enough leash to reach out and support one another, for fear of losing all they had worked so hard to create. Instead they quietly watched on their televisions, hoping they wouldn’t be next.”
“We are not scared any more of losing what we worked for, of being branded hysterical or difficult, of being targeted and silenced by men in power. The women in the music industry speaking out for Kesha are proof. And their words will reverberate, inspiring the young women watching them for clues about the good life to speak up too. Soon, no one will accept shame and fear as the status quo. And so, while Kesha is indefinitely silenced, her voice has never been louder.”
Since this weekend’s events, Dr Luke has broken his silence and taken to Twitter to deny the abuse allegations. “I didn’t rape Kesha and I have never had sex with her,” he wrote, adding, “It’s a shame that there's so much speculation out there basing itself on so little information.” In another tweet, he continued, “The only truly objective person who knows the facts is the judge. The judge did not rule in Kesha’s favour on Friday.”
To read the full essay from Lena Dunham, sign up to Lenny here