The legal battle between the two has been ongoing since 2014 when Kesha sued Dr. Luke for alleged emotional abuse and sexual assault
Kesha has been denied an appeal in her defamation case with Dr. Luke, after it was ruled that the producer is not a public figure, despite being responsible for countless hits songs by some of the world’s biggest pop stars.
The legal battle between the two has been ongoing since 2014 when Kesha sued Dr. Luke for alleged emotional abuse and sexual assault. Dr. Luke (real name Lukasz Gottwald) then countersued Kesha, claiming she had breached the recording contract they had with one another, and made up rape allegations in an attempt to leave the deal.
In February 2020, a New York judge ruled that she had defamed Gottwald in a text she sent to Lady Gaga, saying that Gottwald had drugged and raped Katy Perry. Both Perry and Gottwald have denied these claims.
Kesha’s legal team appealed the verdict immediately, but were denied on the grounds that Gottwald is not a “public figure” and “never sought out publicity” around the case.
Three of the five judges residing on the New York Court of Appeals made the decision, maintaining that “although Gottwald has sought publicity for his label, his music, and his artists – none of which are subject of the defamation here – he never injected himself into the public debate about sexual assault or abuse of artists in the entertainment industry,” the ruling reads.
“Gottwald, a successful music producer, has not attracted media attention for his relationship with his clients or his treatment of artists in the entertainment industry but for his work as a music producer on behalf of, and the fame of, the artists he represents,” it continues.
The ruling also maintains that Gottwald’s success as a producer doesn’t render him a “general-purpose” public figure.
“Gottwald’s success in the music business is not enough to bring him into the realm of a general-purpose public figure, even if the music he produces is known to the general public or he is associated with famous or household word musicians, especially where he has used his efforts as a producer to obtain publicity not for himself, but for the artists that he represents,” the ruling reads.
Nevertheless, Justice Saliann Scarpulla, one of the dissenting minority, disagreed with the ruling in a separate statement: “In sum, over many years Dr. Luke has received broad and extensive press coverage as a music producer and, in particular, as a discoverer and developer of female music talent,” Scarpulla wrote.
“He has pervasively sought out this publicity. Dr. Luke’s protestations that he was not well known at the time of the alleged defamatory statements is thoroughly belied by the record,“ she said.
“The majority acknowledges that Dr. Luke is an acclaimed music producer but posits that he is not a general purpose public figure because he is not a ‘household name’. Dr. Luke, however, has achieved a level of fame and notoriety sufficient to be considered a general purpose public figure. He is a household name to those that matter.”
A final trial date has not yet been set, but it is expected to begin in autumn this year.