Freedom For Kesha And Hashtag Activism
  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

  • Posted by: Rafaella Gunz

It's hard to believe that it's been five years since Kesha conquered the charts with her party hit "Tik Tok." But if you've wondered where Kesha has been the last couple years, she's currently fighting a legal battle against her producer, Dr Luke (Lucasz Gottwald), whom Kesha argues abused her repeatedly, both physically and mentally, over the course of their ten-year period working together. However, until a New York judge determines whether the star can get an injunction based off her claims, she is not allowed to release new music due to her recording contract.

"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," her lawyers stated in a legal filing.

Kesha's fan base took to the Internet to bring awareness to this unfortunate case by creating the #FreedomForKesha hashtag. The hashtag not only looks to support the singer, but also to point out the misogyny that still exists in the music industry. Chris Brown, for instance, still has a successful career despite public knowledge of his physical abuse of former girlfriend Rihanna. But Kesha, upon coming forward about being raped and otherwise abused by her producer, has to fight for her right to release new music.

Though Kesha was finally brave enough to speak up, Dr Luke's lawyers and the music label, Sony, are holding this untimeliness against her. "[Kesha] cannot have it both ways. She cannot claim that Gottwald intimidated her into silence, then -- as an apparent afterthought -- seek to hold Sony and Kemosabe Records liable for failing to act on conduct that she did not report," the record label stated.

This type of response is exactly why more rape and sexual assault survivors don't come forward: fear of being shamed, blamed, or not believed. As with the Bill Cosby case, sometimes it takes years for survivors to come to terms with what happened and feel comfortable enough to talk about it. Just because it wasn't reported to the authorities right away doesn't mean it didn't happen or isn't a valid concern. The #FreedomForKesha hashtag brings to light how deeply embedded these aspects of rape culture are in the entertainment industry, which is still heavily dominated by men.

In a country where an estimated 68% of sexual assaults go unreported and 98% of rapists will never serve time, Kesha's story is just one of many. The problem of rape and sexual assault is widespread and something that must be discussed and remedied [Ed Note: And if the entertainment industry is the bastion of progressive ideals it claims to be, then it falls on us to be at the forefront of combating this cancer in American society].

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