On Tuesday, May 17th, the pastel-haired and glitter-veined singer, Kesha, had her performance cut from the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, due to ongoing legal disputes between her and her producer, Dr. Luke. According to the New York Times, “Dick Clark Productions, which is overseeing the awards show, said in a statement on Tuesday that Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records, to which Kesha remains signed, rescinded its approval of the appearance after anonymous media reports last week that said Kesha’s performance would directly reference her dispute with the producer.” Although a representative of Kesha states that the young artist had promised on paper to Dr. Luke that no legal or social references to their disputes would be made during the performance, the production company stands firm on their decision and has refused to comment on the matter.
Kesha took to Instagram on the issue, posting a photograph of herself in a t-shirt and sweats, rocking a messy bun, with the caption of, “I was very excited to perform a tribute to Bob Dylan by singing a cover of “It ain’t me, babe” at the Billboard awards this year. I’m very sad and sorry to say I won’t be allowed to do this. I just wanted to make very clear that this performance was about me honoring one of my favorite songwriters of all time and has never had anything at all to do with Dr. Luke. I was never going to use a picture of him, speak of him or allude to my legal situation in any way. I simply wanted to sing a song I love to honor an artist I have always looked up to. thank u all for the continued support.”
The battle between Kesha and her producer Dr. Luke has been a frequent topic in the media since October of 2014, when the artist filed a law suit against Lukasz Gottwald (Dr. Luke) on account of sexual and emotional abuse against her. In February of 2016, Dr. Luke took to Twitter to deny these accusations, stating “I didn’t rape Kesha and I have never had sex with her. Kesha and I were friends for many years and she was like my little sister.” Kesha attempted to cut off her contract with Sony, but New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich denied Kesha’s request (Koerner).
This dispute between artist and producer has inspired the “#FreeKesha” movement, which has seen an outpouring of support from fans and artists alike. Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to the artist to support her financially throughout her legal battles, and artists like Lilly Allen and Lorde took to social media to support the artist. Fans even created the website freekesha.com to petition against Sony for forcing Kesha to work with her producer, and to provide a medium to house Kesha’s unreleased music.
According to the LA Times, despite the drama surrounding the awards, Kesha still plans on proudly walking the red carpet on the night of the Billboard Music Awards.
Coscarelli, Joe. “Kesha’s Billboard Music Awards Show Performance Is Canceled.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 May 2016. Web. 18 May 2016.
Kennedy, Gerrick D. “Dr. Luke Won’t ‘budge’ on Kesha’s Nixed Billboard Performance, despite Reassurance from Singer.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2016. Web. 18 May 2016.
Koerner, Allyson. “Kesha Confirms Her Billboard Music Awards Performance Is Cancelled & Her Response Is Heartbreaking.” Www.bustle.com. N.p., 18 May 2016. Web. 18 May 2016.