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Kesha v. Dr. Luke refers to the ongoing lawsuit between Kesha and her former producer, Dr. Luke that begun in October of 2014. The lawsuit initially begun with Kesha suing the producer for sexual assault and battery, with the latter countersuing for defamation and breach of contract.


In September 2013, Rebecca Pimmel, a fan of Kesha, set up a petition to "free" Kesha from Dr. Luke's management and accused Luke of "stunting" Kesha's creative growth as an artist.[1] The petitioners concur with the position stated in Kesha's TV series documentary, Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life, in which Luke serves as an executive producer, that she had little creative control of her second album, Warrior.[2]

In January 2014, shortly after Kesha was admitted to a rehab center for bulimia nervosa, Kesha's mother, Pebe Sebert, made allegations that pressure for Kesha to lose weight came from Dr. Luke. Sebert claimed that Dr. Luke said that Kesha looked "like a refrigerator", which instigated her eating disorder. Luke denies these claims.[3]


In October 2014, Kesha sued Dr. Luke, claiming sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, civil harassment, violation of California's unfair business laws, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligent retention and supervision.[4][5] Gottwald responded by filing a countersuit alleging that Kesha's lawsuit was an attempt by Kesha, her mother and her new management firm to extort him into releasing her from her contract.[6]

In November, Dr. Luke asked the judge to dismiss Kesha's accusation of sexually abusing her.[7] In early December, Dr. Luke filed a defamation lawsuit against Kesha's lawyer, Mark Geragos, accusing him of implications that Luke had raped Lady Gaga. Gaga's team denied any such incident.[8] Later in December, Luke's lawyers amended the official complaint in the defamation lawsuit to introduce additional items, including a handwritten birthday card from Kesha back in 2009. Luke's attorney claimed the card is from several years after Kesha claims he started abusing her. Other additions included several emails between Dr. Luke and Kesha's mother, where the latter wrote to him, "You are part of our family." Dr. Luke further accused Jack Rovner, president of Vector Management, of "longstanding antipathy" towards him, alleging Rovner wants more money and control of Kesha's career.[9][10]

On February 18, 2015, during New York Fashion Week, Kesha wore a Discount Universe dress with the words "You Will Never Own Me" on the front of the garment, which at least one media source speculated to be an obvious jab at Dr. Luke amid Kesha's recovery.[11] On June 9, 2015, it was reported that Kesha amended her complaint against Dr. Luke and added a suit against Sony Music Entertainment, with Kesha's lawyer claiming "Dr. Luke's proclivity for abusive conduct was open and obvious to [Sony Music Entertainment] executives, who either knew of the conduct and turned a blind eye, failed to investigate Dr. Luke's conduct, failed to take any corrective action, or actively concealed Dr. Luke's abuse."[12] Kesha sought an injunction with Sony against working and releasing music with Dr Luke and for greater artistic freedom. Kesha's lawyer, Mark Geragos, responded about the injunction saying "She cannot work with music producers, publishers, or record labels to release new music. With no new music to perform, Kesha cannot tour. Off the radio and stage and out of the spotlight, Kesha cannot sell merchandise, receive sponsorships, or get media attention. Her brand value has fallen, and unless the Court issues this injunction, Kesha will suffer irreparable harm, plummeting her career past the point of no return."[13]

A preliminary injunction was denied on February 19, 2016.[14]


The dates in this timeline are guesstimated and may not be 100% accurate.


  • October - Kesha sues Dr. Luke for sexual assault and battery. Later, she is countersued for defamation by Dr. Luke.



  • February 16 - Kesha's preliminary injunction is denied. Soon after, #FreeKesha trends with many other celebrities supporting Kesha such as Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Melanie Martinez, Halsey, Sam Smith, and more.
  • February 22 - Pebe tweeted that Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to help with legal fees.
  • February 23 - Dr. Luke takes to Twitter responding to the "#FreeKesha" movement saying, "I didn't rape Kesha and I have never had sex with her. Kesha and I were friends for many years and she was like my little sister." He further added that the lawsuit was "motivated by money."[15]
  • April 6 - New York Judge Shirley Kornreich dismissed all of Kesha's counter-claims against Dr. Luke.[16]
  • April 29 - "True Colors" is released, in collaboration with Zedd, being Kesha's first release since the lawsuit.
    • After the song's release, Zedd took to Twitter to clarify that Dr. Luke and the label granted them permission to release the song. Dr. Luke responded thanking Zedd for clarifying.
  • July 23 - Kesha embarked on her third headlining tour, Kesha and the Creepies: Fuck the World Tour, where she performed in small intimate places around North America. The tour would last for about a year, expanding to Asia, where she played three shows in China.
  • August - Kesha dropped her sexual abuse case in Los Angeles (while continuing her New York suit) clarifying that "this lawsuit [has been] so heavy on my once free spirit, and I can only pray to one day feel that happiness again."[17]


  • June 25 - Dr. Luke drops the defamation lawsuit against Kesha's mother, Pebe.
  • July 6 - Kesha finally released the single "Praying" on Dr. Luke's record label Kemosabe Records.
  • August 11 - Kesha released her third studio album, Rainbow, also released on Kemosabe.
  • August 25 - it was revealed Judge Shirley Kornreich, who presided over the trial, is married to lawyer Ed Kornreich, who is a partner in Proskauer Rose, the law firm that represents Sony/RCA.[18][19]


  • August - In Katy Perry's unsealed deposition, she denies being raped by Dr. Luke, as well as having any sexual relationship with him.
  • November 30 - Private text messages from 2016 between Kesha and Lady Gaga are leaked where the two singers are discussing information they were told that Katy Perry was raped by Dr. Luke. Kesha expresses her frustration with Perry, where Gaga tells her that Perry is not as strong as her.
    • Later that day, Gaga responded to those texts saying these texts were old and she is her friend. Perry replied to Gaga, "Love you two friend! Onward and upward!"


  • September 26 - Kesha was denied a motion for re-argument & a motion to appeal the decision to Albany's appellate court was denied.
  • November 19 - Dr. Luke sues Kesha's former lawyer, Mark Geragos, for perjury.
  • December 17 - Dr. Luke is denied a request to hold Geragos in contempt. The judge issued a ruling saying that while "Geragos' conduct leaves much to be desired," Dr. Luke's team has not established there was a "clear violation of a court order or a lie made under oath."[20]


  • February 7 - Judge sides with Dr. Luke that Kesha defamed him telling Lady Gaga he raped Katy Perry. She is ordered to pay $1.7 million.
  • February 19 - Reportedly, Taylor Swift helped Kesha pay for the damages to Dr. Luke.[21]
  • March 12 - Kesha files an appeal to overturn defamation ruling.[22]


  15. Dr. Luke's Twitter
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