The latest move in the ongoing battle between Kesha and Dr. Luke has been made by the producer and his legal team. For the second time since 2014, they’ve filed a defamation lawsuit against the musician’s mother, Pepe Sebert, this time citing social media posts and an interview she gave to Billboard this March.
According to court documents, Dr. Luke (born Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald) sued Sebert for libel in Middle Tennessee Federal Court on Sept. 7. This follows a similar suit in Oct. 2014, in which Kesha’s former producer accused Sebert of defaming him with accusations he drugged and sexually abused her daughter. This lawsuit was filed in New York and Tennessee; the New York claim was thrown out this February, but the Tennessee claim remains.
Dr. Luke’s lawyer Christine Lepera tells Billboard:
After we originally filed suit against Pebe Sebert, she continued to make outrageous, false and defamatory statements against Dr. Luke in her widespread media campaign to damage him and smear his name… Pebe Sebert’s lawyers flat out refused to allow us to add those statements to the existing case or to toll the statute of limitations on them — so we’ve been compelled to file an additional action.
Dr. Luke’s new suit cites a a 2011 deposition for an unrelated case, in which she allegedly said he never abused her. In the March 2016 interview he calls out, Sebert told Billboard, “I wanted Kesha to come forward a long time ago and end this relationship with Dr. Luke immediately after the [alleged] rape. But if she wanted to have a shot at the music business, she had no choice but [to work with him].”
Alex Little, a lawyer for Pebe Sebert who also represents Kesha, issued the following statement to Pitchfork:
This marks Dr. Luke’s second effort to sue a mother for publicly supporting and believing her daughter about being raped. It’s also a transparent attempt to delay the trial of these issues. Mrs. Sebert looks forward to presenting her case to a jury as soon as possible. When the evidence is made public, she expects the jury will conclude that all of her statements have been justified.
Dr. Luke also sued Kesha herself in Oct. 2014, and in this week’s filing, his lawyers argued that suit should proceed before this one against her mother. Conversely, Sebert’s lawyers maintained there was no reason to continue to delay.
Dr. Luke’s proceedings against Kesha and her mother came after Kesha first sued him for rape and other abuse in California. She recently dropped that suit, but is still pursuing one she filed in New York even though most of her claims were dismissed and the judge ruled she was not allowed to seek a label outside of Dr. Luke’s Sony imprint, Kemosabe Records.
Billboard’s request for comment from a representative for Kesha and Pebe Sebert was not immediately returned.