Lena Dunham slams Kesha verdict in powerful essay

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Rob Moran

Lena Dunham has slammed the Kesha verdict in a powerful essay for her ‘Lenny Letter’ newsletter, saying the judge’s decision has left Kesha locked in a kind of “domestic abuse”.

In the piece, titled ‘Why Kesha’s Case Is About More Than Kesha‘, the Girls creator laid into the dangerous thinking that earlier this week saw a judge decide that singer Kesha was contractually obligated to continue working with producer Dr Luke (Lukasz Gottwald), a man she alleges had sexually and emotionally assaulted her over ten years.

“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?,” Dunham wrote in the article.

“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 publicising and therefore profiting from her work. This kind of control is a cornerstone of domestic abuse, and it’s far too common.”

Dunham, who takes aim at record company Sony’s pursuit of the case and compares the verdict’s fallout to that of Rolling Stone‘s botched college campus rape expose last year, also outlined how the Kesha case goes further than just highlighting the systemic misogyny of the music industry.

“What’s happening to Kesha highlights the way the legal system continues to hurt women by failing to protect them from the men they identify as their abusers,” she wrote.

“These women deserve better. They do not choose to have their reputations pilloried and their characters questioned as a tactic for getting what they want. What if we realise that the women who come forward have everything to lose, whether they’re pop stars or single mothers?”

Since the verdict was handed down over the weekend, a number of celebrities have come forward in support of Kesha, including fellow musicians Lady Gaga, Lorde, Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift, who contributed $350,000 to the pop star’s legal costs.

Dunham’s own partner, musician and producer Jack Antonoff, also tweeted his support to Kesha overnight, offering to help her record and release music while she’s locked in the ongoing legal battle.

“The public outcry about Kesha’s case has been truly heartening: the swell of shock and indignation from fans and fellow performers alike. We [women in the public eye] are not scared anymore of losing what we worked for, of being branded hysterical or difficult, of being targeted and silenced by men in power,” Dunham wrote at the end of her piece.

“Soon, no one will accept shame and fear as the status quo. And so, while Kesha is indefinitely silenced, her voice has never been louder.”

 

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