UPDATED: Kesha’s legal team responded today to the uproar around a recently revealed claim that Dr. Luke, the singer’s former collaborator, assaulted Katy Perry. Their statement clams that an unnamed CEO of a major record label told both Kesha and Lady Gaga of the assault on Perry. The claim surfaced in legal documents related to Luke’s defamation suit against Kesha. Luke has strenuously denied all charges of sexual assault, and issued a statement later Friday stating that the executive in question — who remains unidentified — had denied making that comment.
“With respect to the recent story regarding Katy Perry, the statement that Dr. Luke assaulted her came from the CEO of a major record label, and was told by that executive at the same time to Kesha and Lady Gaga,” the statement read. “The startling statement was subsequently discussed in a private, one-on-one text message between Kesha and Lady Gaga. It was neither published nor further distributed. It would have remained completely private, except that Dr. Luke and his team took an email obtained only in discovery and decided to publish it to millions of people in his amended complaint against Kesha, and then claim reputational harm from his own widespread publication.
“Dr. Luke disclosed the private conversation between Kesha and Lady Gaga for no purpose other than to attack, harass, and ultimately bankrupt Kesha,” the statement continues. “His claim that Kesha’s private one-on-one text message about a statement from a record label CEO (to someone who had already heard the same statement) caused damages for which Kesha should be held liable is baseless.” Kesha’s publicist confirmed to Variety that the rep who sent the statement is working with her legal team.
The documents related to the defamation case contain Luke’s refutation of three of Kesha’s claims against him: previously known allegations that he gave the singer drugs against her will and that he raped her, as well as the previously undisclosed claim that he raped Perry.
In a statement released late Friday, Luke’s reps said: “Kesha and her legal team are fully aware that Ms. Perry has unequivocally confirmed that she was not raped by Dr. Luke. Kesha and her attorneys should be ashamed of themselves for not publicly acknowledging this and apologizing. Instead, they continue to publicize this and other falsehoods. In fact, Kesha’ s false accusation involving Ms. Perry came to public light only because Kesha’s attorneys filed the accusation publicly. Kesha’s latest press release saying that a music executive told her that Dr. Luke had raped Katy Perry is fully contradicted by that executive. He denied saying that.”
It is unclear who the major-label CEO might be, since the two singers are signed to separate label groups — Kesha to Sony and Gaga to Universal — and have not collaborated musically, at least not publicly.
The claim was revealed in a text message sent from Kesha to Lady Gaga, according to the documents, which read in part: “On February 26, 2016 [Kesha] sent a text message to Stefani Germanotta p/k/a/ Lady Gaga which repeated [Kesha’s] false claim that [Luke] had raped her.
“[Kesha] also falsely asserted that [Luke] had also raped Kathryn Hudson p/k/a/ Katy Perry,” it continues, adding that “Following this text message conversation, and with [Kesha’s] encouragement, [Gaga] spread negative messages about [Luke] in the press and on social media.” Previously, the existence of the text message had been publicly discussed, although its contents had not.
The statement also says that “Dr. Luke’s nearly $50 million defamation case against Kesha is meritless. While repeatedly making inflammatory statements to the press attacking Kesha, Dr. Luke has fought vigorously to keep the actual evidence in the case from seeing the light of day.
“With respect to Kesha’s allegation that Dr. Luke sexually assaulted her,” the statement continues, “Kesha reported the assault to multiple people when it happened, and sought professional help as a result of the assault and Dr. Luke’s abuse. When the evidence is made public, it will confirm Kesha’s allegations.”
In a statement, Luke’s legal team vehemently denied the accusations detailed in the court documents. “Katy Perry herself confirmed that Dr. Luke did not rape her,” it said. “Kesha’s accusation to the contrary — just like her other outrageous lies about Dr. Luke — is baseless and irresponsible, and it is disrespectful to both Katy Perry and Dr. Luke. In his defamation lawsuit against Kesha, Dr. Luke seeks damages for the harm caused by these malicious falsehoods.”
Luke’s defamation lawsuit against Kesha the last remaining suit in an ugly legal battle that began in 2014 when the pop star went public with claims that the producer had abused her. That year, Luke filed a complaint against Kesha for failing to work on a third album as required under her contract. Kesha filed a countersuit, seeking to be released from the contract on the basis of allegations that Dr. Luke had raped her and verbally abused her over the course of several years. The courts have ruled against Kesha in every attempt to extricate herself from her contracts with Luke and his Sony-disributed Kemosabe label, and last year she released an album, “Rainbow,” on the label containing several songs that obliquely reference her battles with the producer. Kesha is currently on a coheadlining tour with rapper Macklemore that continues through August.