What does it say about justice when the court forces a woman to keep working with her rapist?
The Manhattan Supreme Court has denied her request to temporarily nullify her contract, essentially forcing her to continue working with the man she accuses of raping her and the company she says turned a blind eye to it.
According to the report in the New York Daily News, the judge justified her decision by saying that Sony “would suffer irreparable harm” if Kesha’s request was granted, and that the company’s offer to let her work with another producer was reasonable enough.
This is just wrong on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin. But let’s start with the concept of irreparable harm and what that might mean to Kesha, who says that at just 18, she was drugged and raped by the man she trusted to guide her career and bring her fame and fortune. Let’s consider the kind of irreparable harm done to Kesha – emotionally, physically, and psychologically – when she woke up in a hotel room in her producer’s bed, with no memory of how she’d ended up there or what had happened to her the night before.
[bctt tweet=”Irreparable harm? Let’s consider the kind of irreparable harm done to Kesha. #FreeKesha”]
One of the basic concepts of the rule of law that we live by in the United States is the idea that one is innocent until proven guilty, and that the burden of proof is on the plaintiff – in this case, Kesha. With no conviction against Dr. Luke or Sony, the judge’s ruling makes a little more sense within the bounds of the law she is working with. The law is designed to protect the interests of companies in their often substantial investments, and that’s what the judge cited in her reasoning for the ruling. But what such laws don’t take into account is the disparity between an organization like Sony, which has 12 labels under it’s belt and the rights to artists like Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett, and Bob Dylan, and Kesha, who yes is famous, yes is rich, but is more importantly a person, a person who cried when the judge announced her ruling.
Sony is a multi-million dollar company that would lose some money if Kesha were allowed out of her contract. Kesha is a human being who, if her claims are even a little bit true, has already been robbed of everything.
[bctt tweet=”I seriously can’t believe that I’m actually having to make this argument. #FreeKesha”]
If we’re talking about irreparable harm, then the harm done to an actual person should always, always take precedence over the harm done to a company. Even if that harm is only potential, even when it’s unsubstantiated or unconfirmed, the law is supposed to protect people from those who have power, and we as a society should never lose sight of that. In this case, Sony is absolutely and indisputably the one with all the power – the power to make or break Kesha’s career, and let’s not forget that Kesha is accusing Sony of “condon(ing) and encourag(ing)” Dr. Luke’s abuse.
I seriously can’t believe that I’m actually having to make this argument. But maybe it’s not so surprising if you look at the Kesha lawsuit as a culmination of some of the most unfortunate developments of our time: rape culture, blaming the victim, “corporations are people too.” We need to change that tide. We need to make sure the law is always on the side of the most vulnerable people.