Pop star Kesha Sebert has followed up her bombshell lawsuit against producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald with an amended complaint that adds Sony Music as a defendant for allegedly supporting and ratifying his behavior.
In Los Angeles Superior Court, Kesha previously claimed that Luke, 41, drugged and “forced himself” on her, threatened to take away her publishing rights and constantly belittled her appearance, driving her to bulimia.
She’s now turned her attention to Sony and alleges in new papers obtained by The Hollywood Reporter that record labels are desperate for “pop sensations” amid declining sales and thus have made a “substantial investment” — $60 million — in Dr. Luke for his ability to develop “catchy and creative talent.”
But Kesha, represented by Mark Geragos, asserts there is a cost to doing business with the famous producer.
According to her amended complaint, “Dr. Luke’s proclivity for abusive conduct was open and obvious to [Sony Music Entertainment] Doe 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.”
Kesha’s reps have claimed that Dr. Luke has abused others and that Sony should be held partly responsible too.
“SME’s conduct placed Jane Doe female artists, including Ms. Sebert, in physical danger by giving Dr. Luke full creative and business control, with nearly limitless financial resources, over young female artists who necessarily were compelled to become dependent upon his good will.”
The amended complaint further alleges that Kesha complained about the terms of her agreements with Dr. Luke — that he won’t renegotiate “as he promised and according to industry custom” — and that Sony’s has “ratified” this by giving Dr. Luke a record label deal and a “platform to continue his abuse.”
“Based on SME’s conduct, SME has forced an abusive relationship between Dr. Luke and Ms. Sebert to this day,” states the amended complaint.
The newest legal papers are the latest in a legal blowup that initiated last October.
Dr. Luke has filed his own lawsuit in New York and has suggested that Kesha’s sexual abuse claims are cover for her real concern over contracts. His attorneys have been pushing the judge in New York to allow his claims — which also include defamation against Geragos and Kesha’s mother — to continue instead of awaiting what happens in California. The judge in New York has kept an open mind and recently, Kesha submitted a motion to pause the New York litigation with a nod to claims being made against Sony.
A California judge is set to make her own ruling about whether to pause Kesha’s lawsuit in favor of Dr. Luke’s in New York pursuant to a forum clause in Kesha’s contract with Dr. Luke.
Kesha’s amended complaint serves her goal to have the dispute play out in California because by bringing Sony into the mix, Kesha’s attorneys argue those deals are without a New York forum clause. Dr. Luke’s attorneys dispute this reading of the contract.
But whether or not this dispute is really about money, Sony will now have to face claims that it should be liable for sexual abuse and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence and more. The amended lawsuit also states that Sony is continuing to support Dr. Luke’s “conduct designed to destroy Ms. Sebert’s career in retaliation for Ms. Sebert bravely bringing forward her claims of abuse.”
Sony declined comment.
“This seems like a desperate effort,” responds Christine Lepera, attorney for Dr. Luke. “It’s conclusions without facts, and there’s nothing new. They are trying to embroil Sony and it won’t work.”