By: Eli Banghart, Research and Education Associate
The human rights laws in the realm of rape within the United States have come under higher scrutiny recently. Perhaps most notably, the case of pop-singer Kesha (formerly known as Ke$ha, real name Kesha Rose Seibert) against producer Dr. Luke. The singer wishes to be released from her contract that requires six albums with Dr. Luke’s work featured in at least six songs per album. An appeal for a legal injunction was denied on 19 February 2016, striking rallying movements under the #FreeKesha tagline and an outpouring of celebrity support. This case’s impact has moved beyond Kesha, in her own words, turning into a movement against staying silent towards abusers.
Kesha’s released statement after her failed injunction cites the case and its decision as “bigger than [herself].” Looking beyond legal battles, Kesha stated that she “does not think [the] case is giving people who have been abused confidence that they can speak out, and that’s a problem.” Furthermore, it moves the idea of rape accusations affecting the accused and the victim – here we see a corporation, its contracts, and one of its clients vying for different goals. Sony does not wish to lose the singer as a client, Kesha wishes to not work with Dr. Luke, but the details of buying out a contract or the promises said about freedom to record are murky.
The outpour of celebrity support for Kesha has been backed by fellow artists sharing their negative experiences with Dr. Luke. Kelly Clarkson worked with Dr. Luke multiple times, citing the producer has poor character and lied a lot, creating negative situations for Clarkson. Miley Cyrus also expressed her anger towards the case, and Nicki Minaj stopped following Dr. Luke on Twitter.
The United Nation’s Millennium Goals work of freedom from fear and freedom from want delve directly into the organization’s campaign. Development of society, of the world, cannot be measured solely by economic terms. The disparities worldwide, including here in the United States, need some form of Human Rights and equality measures to demonstrate growth. Gender equality and gender rights are measured through the freedom from fear and want highlighted by the United Nations. In the case of Kesha, there is a publicized fight not only against an individual, but a corporation and legal contracts, adding a layer of complexity to the case’s outcome. Kesha’s case calls for legal reform towards the writing of contracts, of leaving clauses, and for transparency for corporations and their power held over clients, even in times of mental and physical duress.
Source for image found here.