This post has been updated.
Another week, another woman failed by the “justice” system.
Today, a New York judge denied Kesha’s plea to get out of her contract with Sony. An injunction she filed so she would no longer have to work with the man she says has sexually and emotionally abused her for a decade. A man who she says she doesn’t feel safe working with. A man who she says drugged and raped her.
But no. She must make SIX more records to fulfill her contract with Sony.
SIX. That’s a lot of fucking albums. This isn’t the 1970s, when full-lengths came out twice a year. Today, six albums is a career’s worth.
Kesha was effectively handed a life sentence today. Her career, which has been halted since she first filed the lawsuit in October 2014, may never recover. She’s been silenced, unable to write, record or tour.
But, you know. Let’s be sure to look out for the interests of Sony which, according to Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich, would suffer “irreparable harm” if she broke her contract. This is what happens when we protect corporations instead of protecting women. This is the world we live in: corporations are people and women — well, women are nothing. A record contract has more value and carries more weight than a woman’s well-being and safety.
“My instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing,” the judge said.
THE COMMERCIALLY REASONABLE THING. Not the right thing, or the humane thing. The “commercially reasonable” thing.
Let’s review: Kesha is not asking that Dr. Luke go to jail for sexual assault. SHE’S LITERALLY ASKING TO GET OUT OF A RECORD CONTRACT. While it’s true that Sony has offered to “let” her work with another producer — GEE HOW GRACIOUS — Kesha has legitimate concerns that her music will not be promoted if she doesn’t work with Dr. Luke, who makes Sony a shit-ton of money.
Let’s remember that Kesha is incredibly brave for speaking out and pursuing legal action at all. She had everything to lose when she moved forward with this lawsuit, going up against a powerful man in the industry who has worked with many of her peers, including Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj. When she initially spoke out about her alleged treatment by Dr. Luke, the online reaction read like a rape-myth bingo card. Her party-girl image — an image that, as Chloe Angyal tweeted, Dr. Luke has directly profited from — was used to discredit her.
Let’s also remember that millions of women are forced to work/live/interact with men who have hurt them every day because they cannot quit their jobs or get out of their living situations.
Who was really irreparably harmed by today’s absolutely heartbreaking and horrifying decision? It was the woman, yet again, who dared to speak out and fight for what’s just.
And here I thought 2016 was going to be the year that maybe, just maybe, we started believing women.
UPDATE: Many people in the music community are rallying around Kesha, including Taylor Swift who donated $250,000 to offset legal costs. For added analysis on why only female artists were initially called out for not stepping up in support of Kesha — BECAUSE OF COURSE — check out this piece at Noisey.
Edited on Feb. 23 to clarify the contract stipulations, add note about industry support, minor tweaking.