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What we can learn from #FreeKesha
By Ieva Asnina
On 19 February a Manhattan judge denied popstar Kesha's request for a preliminary injunction. It would have granted her the chance to leave her record label, and her allegedly abusive producer. But what does this mean for us?
We’re constantly told that if we’re not happy – whether that be at work, relationships, school – we should leave. But this ruling means that she’s contractually obliged to stay at the record label and work on not one, but six more albums.
In 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against her producer, Dr Luke. She alleges that he drugged, sexually abused and psychologically tormented her for ten years. He denies these claims.
In the latest hearing, the judge refused to let her leave Kemosabe Records, which is owned by Sony Music, on the grounds that the company would suffer ‘irreparable harm’. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich said that to allow her to walk would undermine the state’s law governing contracts. In other words, forget about protecting the alleged victim. Turns out a contract is more valued than human life.
Sony has offered to let her work with another producer. However, the Tik Tok singer believes the company won’t promote her music if she’s not working with their biggest hitmaker.
Fans rallied outside the court with #FreeKesha banners, a tagline that has spread across social media. At the time of writing, over 100,000 people have signed an online petition for the president of Sony Music to set her free. The pop music community, including Lady Gaga and Lorde, have also tweeted their support to the singer.
When women in positions of power are put in this situation only to be shunned and not listened to, it doesn’t give much hope for the rest of us. A study by the Office for National Statistics in mid-February revealed that rape victims are most likely to be women, aged 15 to 19. They added up to 23 per cent of rape offences, despite this age group only making up 6 per cent of the UK population. In fact, the study showed that 73 per cent of female rape victims were aged under 30.
Last year, the National Union of Students conducted a lad culture and sexism survey, in which 17 per cent of respondents said they had been victims of a form of sexual harassment in the first week of term. 61 per cent said that they were not made aware of any codes of conduct implemented by their university.
A hashtag won’t change the justice system. But it does shed light on an important issue. An issue that is all too real for not just women in pop culture, but globally. If there’s anything we take away from this it is to provide young people with the correct support and information about what to do in these situations.
Hi, I’m Ieva. Originally from Latvia, I’m currently a second-year journalism student at the London College of Communication and an occasional blogger. I’m a self-confessed news and celebrity junkie and an avid reader of crime novels. I believe that student lifestyle is just as important as what happens in our communities and in wider society. What we do outside of our studies, the things we can’t live without and the moments that drive us crazy, are what shapes who we are and bring us all together. I look forward to exploring this theme further as an NUS Journalist because the team at NUS offer a great platform for students’ voices to be heard, loud and clear.