Image: Kesha / Brittany Anyon / Wikimedia Commons
In the wake of a court verdict that saw pop princess Kesha Sebert denied an injunction against her label – one that would’ve seen her unshackled from an ironclad six-album contract with her producer and her alleged abuser, Dr Luke – female artists have flooded social media with messages of solidarity. Some of their ranks include the likes of Lorde, Demi Lovato and even the mother monster herself, Lady Gaga.
“There are people all over the world who love you @KeshaRose. And I can say truly I am in awe of your bravery,” Gaga tweeted, sending a paws-up signal to her fifty-some million followers.
New Zealand’s own Lorde added, "Standing with @KeshaRose through this traumatic, deeply unfair time.” Within minutes, her tweet had thousands of hearts and RTs.
But it was Lovato who ignited a firestorm with her inflammatory remarks on Twitter. She kicked things off with, “Frustrating to see women come forward with their past only to be shot down, not believed and disrespected for their bravery in taking action. Happens way too often. I'm ready for women to be taken just as seriously as men.”
Fair call. Stats don’t lie: most victims of sexual assault – as high as 91 per cent in New Zealand – choose not to report the incident, whether out of fear that their claims will be thrown out, because they don’t want to be victim-blamed or have to face the public airing of their personal trauma, whether they’re concerned their assailants won’t be brought to justice, or for any multitude of other reasons. That’s what happens in a culture that shouts down women who dare raise their voices.
It didn’t stop there. Lovato went on to declare, “I'm also ready for self-proclaimed feminists to start speaking out or taking action for women's rights.” Many took this as a dig at Taylor Swift’s mysterious radio silence – which ended when a spokesperson for the chart-topping champ revealed she’d donated a hefty $250,000 to Kesha’s legal team. Conveniently, this came after Demi’s very public call-out, and the subsequent media coverage, but I digress.
And because that couldn’t just be the end of it, then came this jab courtesy of Demi: “Take something to Capitol Hill or actually speak out about something and then I'll be impressed.” Here, she’s presumably referring to her own congressional campaign to ratchet up mental health awareness and usher through much-needed reforms.
What the Lovato camp fails to realise though, is that there’s more than one way to be an advocate. Sure, Taylor didn’t have to inject funds into Kesha’s bank account incognito – and it wouldn’t have taken more than a few nimble taps to send out a supportive memo to her seventy million Swifties – but feminism ultimately means the freedom to choose, and choose Taylor did.
At the end of the day, all this back-and-forth bickering does is feed the piranha paps and wrench the spotlight away from where it’s needed most: Kesha and girls and women like her, especially those who mightn’t have the backing of big names in the record industry. Not only that, it also distracts from the total inadequacy of the courts in their inability to provide justice to those counting on their protection.
Together, united, let’s #FreeKesha.Support Villainesse