A Full Timeline Of Kesha’s Battle With Dr. Luke

Kesha Timeline

For the past two years, singer Kesha has been battling her former music producer Dr. Luke, real name Lukasz Sebastian, asking to be released from the music label Dr. Luke runs under Sony.

Kesha has accused the famous producer of drugging and raping her, causing her emotional damage that resulted in an eating disorder, and shaming her in public. The case came to a head on Friday when Kesha’s injunction requesting to be released from her contract with Dr. Luke was denied.

So where did it all start? Let’s look back.


Dr. Luke signed Kesha as a writer and singer to his Kemosabe Records label in 2005 under Sony, with Kesha as his most famous signee then and to this day. Only 17 at the time, Dr. Luke convinced Kesha, who was raised by her professional songwriting mother Pepe Sebert, to drop out of high school and move to LA.


In 2008, Kesha wrote and sang on the hook for Flo Rida’s hit single Right Round, though she was denied a writing credit by Dr. Luke and made no money off the sale of the song.

That same year, Kesha appeared in Katy Perry’s video for I Kissed A Girl, which was written by Perry, Max Martin and Dr. Luke.


Kesha’s career began to take off in 2010 with the release of her Dr. Luke-produced debut album Animal, thanks largely to the success of her lead single Tik Tok. Kesha continued writing for other artists during that time period, including Britney Spears’ Till The World Ends in 2011.


Animal was reissued as Cannibal and released in 2011. It included the new track We R Who We R and sold 21 million digital downloads. Kesha’s first headlining tour Get Sleazy was expanded to cover three continents after selling out almost immediately.


In 2012, Kesha released her sophomore album Warrior, which featured the lead single Die Young. The album was written by Kesha and produced once again by Max Martin and Dr. Luke, although the singer revealed in the MTV documentary My Crazy Beautiful Life that she had little creative control over the record.


In March of 2013, when Kesha set out on her Warrior Tour, tension between the singer and Dr. Luke became public knowledge. Kesha’s mother, songwriter Pebe Sebert, said she hoped her daughter would be dropped from Luke’s label. Kesha told fans that she had written over 70 songs for Warrior and that they were scrapped at the request of Dr. Luke.


In January 2014, Kesha checked into a Illinois rehab clinic to receive treatment for an eating disorder she began suffering from after signing with Dr. Luke. Pebe Sebert publically stated that Dr. Luke was the cause of her daughter’s eating disorder, with the record producer continually mocking Kesha’s weight for years. Kesha completed rehab after two months and changed her stage name Ke$ha back to its original spelling.

Later that year in October, Kesha sued Dr. Luke for “alleged sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, emotional abuse, and violation of California business practices”, with the events in question taking place over their ten-year business relationship. Kesha claimed that she was drugged and raped by the producer, who later countersued for defamation.


In 2015, Kesha’s lawsuit against Dr. Luke was amended to include Sony, who she says knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it. Under Kesha’s contract, she is unable to release new material without Dr. Luke’s consent, which explains why we’ve yet to receive any music from the singer since 2013’s Timber.


On Friday, a New York Supreme Court Justice ruled against Kesha’s injunction to be released from her contract with Dr. Luke and Sony, citing the $60 million Dr. Luke invested in Kesha’s career and the lack of evidence for her claims, including hospital records.

Of course, the Kesha case is distressing for many reasons. Victims of assault often have personal relationships with their attackers and may blame themselves, which in turn stops them from reporting the crime when it happens or seeking medical help. Factoring in Kesha’s young age and Dr. Luke’s power over her career and his influence in the pop world, it’s amazing that Kesha has been able to come forward at all. But why attempt to legally separate herself from her contract instead of suing Dr. Luke for allegedly sexually assaulting her? Because a civil suit is (or in Friday’s case, should have been) easier to prove than a criminal suit.

With Fridays news grabbing national headlines, many celebs have publically offered their support to Kesha.

Taylor Swift, who usually remains quiet on controversial issues, donated $250,000 to Kesha to help cover legal fees, an act that was confirmed by Kesha’s mother on Twitter.

Swift’s 1989 collaborator Jack Antonoff also took to social media to lend his support to Kesha, even offering to produce new music with the singer.

Unfortunately, some of the support has erupted into the too-often seen battle royale of pitting female artists against one another. After tweeting her initial support, Demi Lovato came under fire for what many believed were jabs at Swift.

Instead of attempting to position Kesha’s horrifying legal battle as the latest pop star beef starring Lovato and Swift, we’d rather shine a light on other tweets written by Demi in support of Kesha.

It’s unclear what the future holds for Kesha and Dr. Luke, but what is promising is the number of influential artists voicing their support and the hope that publicity from Friday’s ruling will result in Kesha finally being released from her contract. As a role model for her fans around the world, we hope that Kesha’s actions will also inspire others who are suffering from abuse to seek help.