Sony is expected to cut ties with producer Dr. Luke before the end of the year, according to a report by The Wrap. Dr. Luke, of course, is the man accused by Ke$ha of subjecting her to years of emotional and sexual abuse, a case that spiked in public awareness last month when the singer was denied an injunction bid that would have freed her from her contract.
The report stems from sources familiar with the situation inside Sony, with no official comment from the company itself. ”“The fact that this hasn’t already been taken care of is confusing, especially for people in the building,” says one unnamed insider.
If Sony is indeed planning to end its contract with Dr. Luke, it will be another marker of the power of social media. Though Ke$ha found no legal recourse to be released from her recording contract, the results of her civil suit against Dr. Luke are pending, and there have been no criminal charges filed, public opinion was quick to stand with Ke$ha against her alleged abuser. With stars such as Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Adele, and Taylor Swift standing with their embattled colleague in a stunning display of female artist empowerment, Sony appears to have been backed into a corner. “There is no contest. Kesha has no case in regards to her contract but they can’t afford the Adeles of the world out in the streets calling the label unsupportive,” according to a source.
Another insider points out that because there has been no legal judgment against Dr. Luke—”somebody has been convicted on Twitter,” they remark—any break between the label and the producer would have to be mutual. At this point, though, Dr. Luke might just consider himself lucky to have a way out of the public spotlight and agree not only to a release from Sony, but also to a settlement with Ke$ha.
If nothing else, the Ke$ha-Dr. Luke case has highlighted a number of things so far:
1. The potential of female celebrities to lead the fight for gender equality in the music industry;
2. The power of social media relative to the law when it comes to judgment;
3. How damn hard it still is for rape cases to make it into criminal courts rather than civil courts—and how much emotional hardship is placed on the accuser.