Kesha, Dr. Luke Duel Over Abuse Allegations

     MANHATTAN (CN) – As Kesha lobbed a sexual-assault action against Dr. Luke in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the super-producer countered with defamation claims in New York.
     The producer, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, sued Kesha Rose Sebert and her mother, Pebe Sebert, on Tuesday in New York County Supreme Court.
     Vector Management and its president, Jack Rovner, are also named as defendants. Gottwald is joined as a plaintiff by his company Kasz Money.
     Kesha meanwhile sued Gottwald, Kasz Money and others in Los Angeles Superior Court.
     Gottwald says he discovered the “Timber” singer when she was an unknown in Nashville in 2005. His efforts allegedly turned Kesha “into the prominent platinum-selling artist that she is today.”
     By teaming up with Vector last year, Kesha and her mother “have sought to break her agreement with Gottwald,” the complaint states.
     Gottwald says Kesha is no longer delivering her sound recordings to him, or letting him produce her work.
     Kesha and her mother’s latest claims that Gottwald physically and mentally abused Kesha are defamatory and simply “part of her repudiation of her contract,” the complaint states.
     “These defamatory statements contain lurid allegations of physical and mental abuse of Kesha – allegations that Kesha and Pebe have themselves admitted are false,” Gottwald says (emphasis in original). “Kesha and her mother Pebe have wielded these defamatory statements in an attempt to extort Gottwald into releasing Kesha from the exclusive recording agreement.
     “Defendants’ injurious conduct should not be countenanced. Gottwald has upheld his end of the bargain, devoting the better part of a decade to transforming Kesha from an unknown entity into a well-known recording star. Kesha’s repudiation of this contractual relationship, and her and her mother’s ongoing campaign to extort a release by tarnishing Gottwald’s reputation, has caused damage to Gottwald as alleged herein.”
     The producer says he, his attorney, his representatives and others received emails in late 2013 from Pebe that “claimed, among other things, that ‘Dr. Luke abused Kesha, both physically and mentally.'”
     “Pebe also indicated that she was ‘sending all of this [i.e., her accusations about Gottwald]’ to a blogger who started a ‘Free Kesha’ website,” Gottwald added. “All of these accusations above are false. Indeed, Pebe and Kesha know these accusations are false.
     “Despite the patent falsity of these accusations, Pebe has made clear that extortion is the ultimate goal of this defamatory campaign.”
     Pebe allegedly threatened to “further disseminate accusations of the type above unless Gottwald makes substantial business concessions and lets Kesha out of” her contract with Gottwald.
     “Pebe has also had Kesha terminate her attorneys and hire new ones, who have threatened to sue Gottwald and KMI over various meritless claims unless plaintiffs agree to release Kesha from the Gottwald recording agreement,” the complaint states.
     Gottwald says one of his business partners got a look this past summer at a “draft complaint” Kesha’s attorneys threatened to file against Gottwald unless he let Kesha out of her recording agreement.
     The producer seeks punitive damages for defamation, breach of contract and tortious interference. He is represented by Christine Lepera with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp.
     
     Kesha’s Lawsuit
     The 28-page complaint Kesha filed in Los Angeles paints a different story. It describes Kesha as a “family-oriented” ingenue who was led by Gottwald into dropping out of high school for “a glamorous music career.”
     Gottwald allegedly let Kesha’s career “languish” while he focused on the careers of more lucrative artists. When she did see him, Gottwald bragged about getting his dates drunk so that he could “fuck them in the ass,” the complaint alleges.
     Kesha says she became desensitized by Gottwald’s actions, which allegedly included cheating on his pregnant wife, demanding that the wife get an abortion, and engaging in “explicit sexual activities with other females” at nightclubs.
     “Dr. Luke sexually, physically, and verbally abused Ms. Sebert for a decade in order to make her feel completely worthless and maintain complete control over her life,” the complaint states. “On one occasion, Dr. Luke forced Ms. Sebert to snort an illicit drug before they were scheduled to take a flight. Once on the plane, Dr. Luke continuously forced himself on Ms. Sebert while she was intoxicated and drugged. Ms. Sebert was in such an intoxicated state on the plane that she vomited on herself during the flight.”
     She says Gottwald gave her “sober pills” on another occasion, but that the drugs turned out to be the “date-rape drug.”
     “Ms. Sebert immediately called her mother … telling her that she was naked in Dr. Luke’s hotel room, she did not know where her clothes were, that Dr. Luke had raped her, and that she needed to go to the emergency room,” the complaint states.
     Kesha says she never spoke out because Gottwald threatened to “destroy both Ms. Sebert and her entire family.”
     Though Kesha’s career took off in late 2008 when her vocals were featured in the Flo Rida track “Right Round,” she says Gottwald “constantly insulted her songwriting, vocals, clothing, body, and appearance, as being far below his standards, as well as ‘Hollywood’s standards.'”
     Kesha says she finally had to seek help in January 2014 and spent two months in a rehabilitation facility.
     Gottwald’s alleged abuse made Kesha bulimic and severely depressed.
     The producer’s other companies, Prescription Songs dba Where Da Kasz At?, Kemosabe Entertainment and Kemosabe Records, are also named as defendants.
     Kesha seeks punitive damages and rulings that void her contracts with Gottwald and his companies. She alleges sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, emotional distress, negligent retention and supervision, and violations of various California laws.
     She is represented by Mark Geragos with Geragos & Geragos.
     
     It’s All in the Name
     Gottwald describes himself as “a Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer of smash hit musical recordings by artists including Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and Kelly Clarkson, among others.”
     “Gottwald has written the most Number One songs of any songwriter ever,” the complaint states. “He was named by Billboard as one of the top ten producers of the decade in 2009 and the Producer and Songwriter of the Year for 2010, and was the 2010 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year.”
     Kesha meanwhile says Gottwald’s nickname has more insidious roots. “Ms. Sebert later found out that the ‘Dr.’ in the pseudonym ‘Dr. Luke’ stemmed from Dr. Luke dealing drugs to entertainers during his ten-year tenure as a guitarist in the ‘Saturday Night Live’ band,” the complaint states.

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