Lena Dunham Stands With Kesha, Pens Emotional Open Letter
Musician Jack Antanoff, along with a growing number of other artists, has already pledged his support for Kesha and offered to work with the legally-strapped singer on future material. Now his girlfirend, Girls creator and star Lena Dunham, is speaking out on why Kesha’s case against producer Dr. Luke (real name: Lukasz Gottwald) is about more than a pop star simply trying to free herself from a multi-million dollar contract.
“When I saw the outcome of Kesha’s court case last Friday, I felt sick. Actually sick — I wanted to ask my Uber to pull over so I could throw up in a New York City trash can,” begins Dunham’s essay on the matter, which she wrote for Lenny Letter. “The photos of her beautiful face crumpled with tears, the legally necessary but sickening use of the word “alleged” over and over in reference to the assault she says she remembers so vividly — it all created a special brand of nausea that comes when public events intersect with your most private triggers.”
Emotional stuff. And Dunham jumps further into the matter with the following:
Now Kesha has requested an immediate injunction that would allow her to begin to record without Dr. Luke. I think this seems like a pretty reasonable request. While the allegations of sexual assault and emotional abuse cannot be proven definitively, I think Kesha’s words speak for themselves: “I know I cannot work with Dr. Luke. I physically cannot. I don’t feel safe in any way.”
Sony could make this go away. But instead the company has chosen to engage in a protracted legal battle to protect Gottwald’s stake in Kesha’s future. Although the company insists that Kesha and Gottwald never need to be in a room together and that he will allow her to record without his direct involvement, they are minimizing what Kesha says regarding how Gottwald’s continued involvement in her career would affect her physical well-being and psychological safety.
So let me spell it out for them. Imagine someone really hurt you, physically and emotionally. Scared you and abused you, threatened your family. The judge says that you don’t have to see them again, BUT they still own your house. So they can decide when to turn the heat on and off, whether they’ll pay the telephone bill or fix the roof when it leaks. After everything you’ve been through, do you feel safe living in that house? Do you trust them to protect you?
That explanation is really for the judge, Shirley Kornreich, who questioned why — if they could be physically separated as Sony has promised — Kesha could not continue to work for Gottwald. After all, she said, it’s not appropriate to “decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated.” Guess what else is heavily negotiated? The human contract that says we will not hurt one another physically and emotionally. In fact, it’s so obvious that we usually don’t add it to our corporate documents.
Dunham also brings up the following, all too valid prediction: “A huge part of Kesha’s argument rests on her lawyer’s assertion that Gottwald, potentially enraged by Kesha’s sexual-assault allegations, could make efforts to bury her subsequent albums, preventing her from publicizing and therefore profiting from her work. This kind of control is a cornerstone of domestic abuse, and it’s far too common: according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, financial abuse is an aspect of approximately 98 percent of abusive relationships. When a woman is not in control of her financial destiny, either because her partner is the primary breadwinner or because he makes financial decisions for the entire family, her world is made minuscule. Her resources evaporate. Fear dominates.”
Lena Dunham’s full letter for Lenny can be read here. Where do you stand on Kesha’s court case?