Last month a Manhattan judge ruled that Kesha must remain under contract with Sony despite allegations that she was sexually assaulted by her producer, Dr. Luke. The decision prompted the #FreeKesha movement, with many of her pop music contemporaries, including Adele, Lady Gaga, and Demi Lovato, coming out in support.
Such public scrutiny appears to have forced Sony’s hand, as TheWrap reports that the label intends to drop Dr. Luke (née Lukasz Gottwald) a year before his contract expires.
“Kesha has no case in regards to her contract but they can’t afford the Adeles of the world out in the streets calling the label unsupportive,” noted one of TheWrap’s sources. “The fact that this hasn’t already been taken care of with Luke is confusing, especially for people in the building.”
Because Gottwald has not been convicted of any wrongdoing in a court of law, there’s no legal cause for Sony to terminate his contract outright. Instead, “a negotiated exit would be most likely to save face on both sides,” TheWrap adds.
Update – Wednesday, March 9th at 5:40 p.m.: Gottwald’s lawyer denies that he is being dropped by Sony. “This is not true,” the lawyer told Rolling Stone. “Luke has an excellent relationship with Sony. His representatives are in regular contact with executives at the highest levels at Sony and this has never come up.”
Kesha signed to Gottwald’s Sony imprint Kemosabe Records in 2005. Over the subsequent decade, Kesha alleges that Gottwald physically and mentally abused her. In 2014, she filed a civil lawsuit against Sony and Gottwald asking that she be released from her contract. In February of this year, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich denied Kesha’s injunction request, arguing that such an injunction would cause Sony “irreparable harm” and negate the remaining six Kesha albums owed in the contract. The judge also noted that nullifying the original record deal would “undermine the state’s laws governing contracts.”