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Kesha and Dr Luke settle defamation legal battle over rape allegations

By | Published on Friday 23 June 2023


Kesha and Dr Luke have settled their long-running defamation legal battle, both posting statements confirming the settlement to Instagram. It means that a court battle due to get properly underway in New York next month will now not happen.

Luke’s defamation lawsuit against Kesha was all that remained of what began as a multi-layered multi-state legal battle between the producer and musician. The other elements of that battle mainly related to past deals entered into by the former collaborators, Kesha having been signed to Luke’s label.

The producer sued for defamation over allegations made by Kesha that he had drugged and sexually assaulted the musician. He denied those allegations and argued that Kesha’s claims had negatively impacted on his career.

As the defamation action went through the motions, there was much debate as to what Luke’s burden of proof should be. Under New York state law, if Luke was considered a public figure, he would have to prove that Kesha made her allegedly defamatory statements with actual malice, increasing his burden in court.

The judge overseeing the case decided that Luke wasn’t famous enough outside the music industry to be considered a public figure. But the Kesha side appealed that decision and earlier this month the New York Court Of Appeals ruled that the producer was, in fact, a “limited public figure”.

The appeals court also decided that new free speech laws that came into force in the state after Luke first filed his lawsuit should apply in this case, a decision which further favoured the Kesha side.

With the dispute due to get to trial on 26 Jul, both sides confirmed yesterday that a settlement had now been reached. Terms of that settlement are not known. But both Kesha and Luke issued statements, both of which were posted to both Kesha and Luke’s Instagram profiles.

Kesha’s statement reads: “Only God knows what happened that night. As I have always said, I cannot recount everything that happened. I am looking forward to closing the door on this chapter of my life and beginning a new one. I wish nothing but peace to all parties involved”.

Luke’s statement reads: “While I appreciate Kesha again acknowledging that she cannot recount what happened that night in 2005, I am absolutely certain that nothing happened. I never drugged or assaulted her and would never do that to anyone. For the sake of my family, I have vigorously fought to clear my name for nearly ten years. It is time for me to put this difficult matter behind me and move on with my life. I wish Kesha well”.