The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

#FreeKesha: How the justice system fails women

Courtesy of
Kesha lost her recent court case to terminate her Sony contract.

“You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry.”

That’s what a judge told Kesha’s attorney before dismissing her case against Sony and Dr. Luke (Gottwald), the performer’s producer. 

This ruling boils down to the legal system treating a corporation with more respect than a distraught human being.

On Feb. 20, Kesha (Serbert), the pop star famous for “Tik Tok,” was denied the ability to cut ties with Dr. Luke without sacrificing Sony’s promotion of her album. On the surface, this may seem like a typical case of a celebrity wanting out of a bad contract. However, the singer’s reasoning behind this severing were far more serious. 

Serbert desired to end her agreement with Gottwald after testifying that he had sexually assaulted and emotionally abused her. With the statement made clear, everything about the case had changed. Soon, the question became whether or not the singer would be freed of her offender. Kesha fans and  advocates supported the “Animals” leader with #FreeKesha, and believed that the law would be on her side. But when the verdict came out, it was anything but a song of freedom.

The judge on the case stated that “My instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing,” before ruling in Sony’s favor.

Read that again:

“The commericially reasonable thing.”

A person is forced to continue her career with her assaulter because it’s “commericially reasonable.” 


Corporations have more value in the justice system than assault sufferers. It’s impossible to wrap one’s head around — in fact, it’s horrifying. The basis of the judge’s decision was the loss that Sony would suffer if the contract were voided. At the same time they manage to disregard the loss of autonomy and safety Serbert feels if she’s forced to work for Dr. Luke.

“I know I cannot work with Dr. Luke. I physically cannot. I don’t feel safe in any way,” Kesha said. When informed of the ruling against her, the pop star broke into tears. More than anything, this shows how society is still apathetic towards assault victims’ needs. A piece of paper held more power than Serbert and that’s unacceptable. The U. S. legal system is one of the best, and rulings like these lead one to believe that this level of excellence is only afforded to some.

Soon after the ruling, celebrities including Lady Gaga, Lorde and Kelly Clarkson came to Kesha’s defense. And while this support between female artists is astounding, it can’t be the end all. 

We have to treat victims of abuse with the respect they deserve, and give them the support that they need.

Kesha is known for lyrics that focus on being carefree, strong and resilient. We can only hope and fight that those words ring true to her life and she continues towards freedom.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *