Sunday, April 21, 2024

Sony Music Prevails in Legal Case with Singer Kesha, But Loses in Moral, Ethics, and Public Relations


Pop star Kesha Sebert lost her legal effort to extricate herself from Sony Music today. A judge in New York ruled that despite Kesha’s assertions that producer “Dr. Luke” had abused and used her physically and mentally, raped her, drugged her, and tried to destroy her career, she must stay with Sony Music even if she is produced by someone else.

Here’s the complaint Kesha, as she is known, filed last fall:

Kesha Complaint

I have no idea who is right or wrong in this case. But Sony– the home of Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Beyonce and Adele– has no choice morally or ethically. They’ve got to suck it up, take the financial loss, and let Kesha leave the label. Do they really want to be associated with this? Do they really want to force an artist to work where she doesn’t want to? And do the good people who run Sony want to be remembered for ruining a career?

I’m surprised that the female artists at Sony haven’t spoken out yet on this situation. Regardless of the truth of Kesha’s complaint, the allegations raised are almost textbook in the record industry. Every female artist has a story like this. The most famous is that of Tina Turner, who was held hostage in an abusive relationship for years.

Maybe Kesha should file for assistance from MusiCares, and see if they will help her. But this is certainly not the look that Sony or any other music company wants to be associated with in 2016. I can’t even imagine how a P.R. expert would advise Sony to continue with this. Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Ariana Grande, and other pop stars are already on Twitter defending Kesha with #FreeKesha. Sony would do well to get out of this fast, and graciously. 

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News