[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, SEXUAL ABUSE, RAPE CULTURE]
On Friday, a judge denied a preliminary injunction in the case of Kesha, who was trying to break free of her contract with them on the grounds that the producer they had her working with, Dr. Luke, raped and sexually abused her over the course of several years. The injunction would have allowed her to record songs outside of her contract until the case is settled. Which would be nice for her since she says she's already spent all her money on this legal battle. The case is still ongoing.
The judge said "My instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing." Your instinct is awful.
I'm thinking that most people are not grasping the horror of the reality of what Kesha faces. She is currently contractually obligated to make six more albums with Sony. Sony has claimed that she can do so with whatever producer she wants, but her lawyer has called this a "flimsy promise." Even if the company doesn't force Kesha to work with Dr. Luke (and I have no doubt they could if they wanted to), Sony has supported, aided and abetted Dr. Luke from day one of the accusations of rape and sexual abuse against him. It makes sense that Kesha would not want to work with them, either. Also, if she doesn't work with Dr. Luke, Sony apparently won't market her work.
Basically, Kesha is trapped in a situation wherein she is contractually obligated to work, if not with her rapist, then in the same studios and with the same company in which the abuse took place. She cannot leave and start over in an entirely new setting where she can heal away from reminders of her rapist and away from the company that supports him.
Can you see how fucked up that is?
I've seen some people trying to claim that she could leave if she wanted to or just make music without a recording agency and distribute it online, independently. No. These people don't seem to understand what a contract is. Kesha is contractually obligated to make six more albums with Sony. If she does not, she's breaching her contract, and they can sue the fuck out of her. And if you think she can handle it because she's rich, let me remind you that her riches are nothing compared to that of Sony. They could take everything from her. Could she recover from that as an independent artist while other artists are getting a ton of marketing and general help from companies like Sony? Doubtful. And even if she could, she shouldn't have to. She shouldn't have to remain in this contract.
A lot of people are ignorant as to how the recording industry actually works and how it traps artists like Kesha all the time. They seek out young, naive singers and bands and hands them thick contracts with ridiculous legal language. Then, even the most successful artists end up heavily in debt to companies like Sony thanks to all the hidden costs buried in these hell contracts.
If you haven't, watch the documentary Artifact on the subject. Unfortunately, it was directed by Jared Leto. So if you can watch it in a way that won't give that slimeball money, do that. Anyway, it includes multiple extremely famous artists talking about how their first recording agency totally fucked them. The lead singer from Linkin Park was in it. You can also read the film's Wikipedia page, which explains how Leto's band ended up millions of dollars in debt to EMI despite being hugely successful.
Kesha could still be in debt to Sony. But again, either way, she has to either fulfill the contract or get hella sued by a multi-billion dollar corporation. She's trapped.
This is rape culture. Not even a rich white woman like Kesha can escape it. Apparently, there was not enough evidence that Dr. Luke was abusing Kesha. It actually seems like there's mountains of evidence, but a powerful man like Dr. Luke with Sony behind him was never going to be taken down by something as inconsequential as "evidence." She could be legally forced to work with the man who abused and raped her for years or face utter financial ruin and the end of her entire career. I can't even imagine the horror. I can't actually fully let myself because it's too painful.
This. Is why. I need. Feminism. And for rape culture to fucking die.