The six-year legal battle between Kesha and Dr. Luke is still ongoing, but there has been a ruling from a New York Supreme Court judge over a text message that Kesha sent to Lady Gaga claiming Dr. Luke raped Katy Perry.
According to court documents obtained by Variety, the 32-year-old singer was ordered to pay Dr. Luke – whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald – and his KMI company $374,000 in late royalty fees because the judge ruled that Kesha defamed Dr. Luke with that text message.
Dr. Luke Scores Big Victory in Ongoing Defamation Battle with Kesha https://t.co/WlU4Rnjth3
— Variety (@Variety) February 7, 2020
Kesha Rose Sebert sued Gottwald in 2014 with claims that he sexually assaulted and emotionally abused her. And, in 2017 he fought back with his own lawsuit against her, claiming that she breached her contract and defamed him with false rape allegations.
Kesha accused the 46-year-old producer of sexually assaulting both her and Perry, but the Roar singer denied the claim during her deposition. Judge Jennifer G. Schecter ruled that Kesha owed Gottwald the royalty fees because of Perry’s testimony and lack of evidence to support Kesha’s claims.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that Gottwald raped Katy Perry,” Schecter said. “Moreover, publication of a false statement to even one person, here Lady Gaga, is sufficient to impose liability.”
Even though Judge Schecter ruled in favor of Dr. Luke and agreed there was no evidence to support Kesha’s claims that he raped Perry, she said that Kesha’s claim that Dr. Luke assaulted her is a matter that should be decided by a separate jury trial.
— Revetir En Femme (@Revetir_enfemme) February 7, 2020
Judge Schecter said that the argument from Kesha’s legal team made about Gottwald being a public figure didn’t fly because “he has never injected himself into the public debate about sexual assault or abuse of artists in the entertainment industry.”
She added that the only reason Gottwald had any public connection to the issues raised in Kesha’s lawsuit is because she raised them in her lawsuit.
Gottwald’s lawyer, Christine Lepera, told Rolling Stone that Kesha “abandoned” her “meritless case” against Gottwald over three years ago, and the only remaining lawsuit was his case against her for defamation and breach of contract.
She added that he countersued the singer so he could recover some of the damages that Kesha’s “false accusations of rape” caused him both personally and professionally.
Back in 2014 and before #MeToo, Kesha sued Dr. Luke for sexual assault. He sued her for defamation and breaching contract. Her claims didn't survive; his did. Now, thanks to the summary judgment round, he's gained plenty of advantages. https://t.co/PO30KDPdIg
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 7, 2020
“Today’s important decision by the Court in Dr. Luke’s lawsuit brings him closer to the justice that he seeks. First, the Court has now ruled that Kesha made a false and defamatory accusation about Dr. Luke when she baselessly claimed that he raped Katy Perry,” said Lepera. “Second, the Court rejected Kesha’s attempts to invoke legal technicalities to avoid responsibility for her statements. And third, the Court also correctly held that Kesha breached her contract with Dr. Luke’s company.”
Lepera says that her client looks forward to his sexual assault trial so he can prove that Kesha’s “other false statements about him” were also defamatory. Meanwhile, Kesha’s legal team says that they disagree with the court’s ruling and the will “immediately appeal.”