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  • Fri, 26, Feb, 2016 - 5:00:AM

Celebrity subtweets are derailing #FreeKesha

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. 


  • #FreeKesha /
  • Kesha /
  • Music /
  • Rape /
  • Sexual Violence /
  • Dr Luke /
  • Demi Lovato /
  • Taylor Swift /
  • Lady Gaga /
  • Lorde /
  • Celebrity /
  • Twitter /
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Comments ( 3 )

  • Tomv's picture

    Tomv - Fri, 2016-02-26 09:53

    I don't know the fine details of this case so ignore if I'm mistaken by lack of detail, but when situations like this arise how do we resolve them? As reported we have an artist complaining that she was sexually assaulted by her producer and thus wants out of her contract. With no official record or documentation of this abuse, how can the legal system release her from her contract without evidence or proven culpability. In a perfect world, Sony would release her from the contract, and consumer pressure could help make that happen, but I can't see how the justice system could compel that without breaking many of the fundamental tenets that it is founded on. Sony, as I understand it, has said she can work with any producer she wants. but I'm interested if you, or other female artists who directly experienced these problems can suggest a way to resolve these sorts of issues without opening the legal system up to further abuse. I get the anger, and the support for Ke$ha , but what is the practical solution, that is robust and fair and minimises opportunity for abuse of process?
  • Villainesse Editor's picture

    Villainesse Editor - Fri, 2016-02-26 14:07

    Just clarifying that this article was written by Seb Starcevic, as you'll see by the writer profile attached to the piece.
  • Seb Starcevic's picture

    Seb Starcevic - Fri, 2016-03-11 19:04

    Hey there! Thanks for commenting. You make some good points. Without a conviction, how do we justify severing contractual ties? If we set a precedent with Kesha, won't that just open the doors for anyone to blow their rape whistle if they want out of a contract? There's no 100% right answer to that except for: doubtful. Let's not forget that only the tiniest percentile of rape accusations are false, so if we refuse to nullify, or at least pause, the legal conventions binding accusers to their accused, most of the time we're going to be hurting those who are telling the truth rather than those who just want to wriggle out of a contract. Maybe there needs to be an amendment to common contract law passed which freezes all contractual obligations until it's conclusively, authoritatively determined that a crime didn't take place. But even then, there's no guarantee of infallibility. Judges get it wrong sometimes. So do the courts. It's tricky. Like I said, there's no concrete solution to something like this. But personally, I don't think a victim of sexual assault, even allegedly, should ever be forced to break bread with their tormentor. And I think most would agree with me.
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