Taylor Swift's $250,000 donation to Kesha: An act of feminism?

Female artists rally behind Kesha as her legal battle against producer Dr. Luke drags on. 

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Singer Taylor Swift poses backstage with her awards for Best Music Video for "Bad Blood", Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for "1989" during the 58th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 15, 2016.

Recent Grammy winner Taylor Swift has donated $250,000 to fellow female singer Kesha, as the 28-year old platinum-selling artist continues to battle producer Dr. Luke in court.

The successful producer, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, signed Kesha Rose Sebert to a contract in 2005, when the singer was an unknown 18-year-old artist in Nashville. And since being under contract with Dr. Luke, Kesha says the producer sexually assaulted her by slipping her a date-rape drug and continually harassed the artist about her weight. Kesha says Dr. Luke’s harassment (including referring to her body as a "refrigerator") is what led to a two-month stay in rehab in 2014. 

“For the past 10 years, Dr. Luke has sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused [Kesha] to the point where Ms. Sebert nearly lost her life,” says the lawsuit. 

Lawyers for Dr. Luke and Sony Entertainment say Kesha is violating her five-album contract by refusing to work with Dr. Luke and produce more albums. Kesha is legally barred from producing music with anyone other than Dr. Luke, so withstanding a few concerts here and there, Kesha has just stopped making music. Her last album was released in 2012. 

“I cannot work with this monster,” the artist said in a sworn statement in August. 

After Friday’s verdict, Dr. Luke and Sony have said that Kesha doesn’t have to work with the producer specifically, but he still has a right to produce at least six songs on all of her albums. Kesha’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, says even this arrangment is “setting her up to fail” because he argues Sony won’t promote any music that’s not made with Dr. Luke. 

Mr. Geragos asked the court to withhold from enforcing the contract while the suit plays out, but Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich denied the request, saying Kesha “is being given the opportunity to record.” 

Dr. Luke continues to deny all allegations. 

“All of their horrific allegations of abuse, threats and other purported misconduct by me against Kesha are completely untrue and deeply hurtful,” Dr. Luke said in a sworn statement in December. The producer has filed his own lawsuit against Kesha, claiming defamation and breach of contract.

While the lawsuit drags on between Kesha and Dr. Luke, powerful female artists are banning together to support their colleague.

“In show of support, Taylor Swift has donated $250,000 to Kesha to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time,” a Swift spokesperson told Just Jared. 

Lady Gaga offered kind words to Kesha in a tweet Friday, which has already garnered over 88,000 retweets and 107,000 likes.

And Demi Lovato's tweet of support has also been well received. 

Kelly Clarkson and Lorde have also tweeted kind words. 

Other artists rallying behind the #FreeKesha campaign include Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Fiona Apple, and Lily Allen. 

“Women empowerment is speaking up for other women even when it’s something uncomfortable to speak up about,” said Demi Lovato. “Women empowerment is taking action now, not when it’s convenient.”

Only five percent of all music producers are women and no woman has ever won a Grammy for producer of the year, non-classical. While Kesha’s allegations will soon be tested in court, “What isn’t in question is her bravery in taking on such a powerful music industry player,” writes the Guardian’s Britt Julious. 

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