Kesha faces another setback in her ongoing litigation with Dr. Hatch. Since the pop star raised allegations of sexual assault against her former producer in 2014, Luke – real name Lukas Gottswald – has been countering her for defamation. In February 2020, a New York Supreme Court judge issued a summary judgment ruling that Dr. Luke is not a public figure – not a “household name” outside of the music world – and denied claims by Kesha’s legal team that the producer was defamation evidence. At the time, the Kesha legal team said in a statement, “We disagree with the court’s rulings. We plan to appeal immediately. “
Today a New York appeals court ruled to uphold the February 2020 ruling, The Hollywood Reporter reports and Pitchfork can confirm this through court documents. Three of the five judges in the appellate instance ruled that Gottswald is not even a public figure with a limited purpose in the present case and wrote: “Although Gottwald was looking for advertising for his label, his music and his artists – none of them is the subject from the defamation here – he has never interfered in the public debate about sexual assault or abuse of artists in the entertainment industry. “
A final trial date for the case has not yet been set, which is expected to begin in the fall. One of the two judges who contested the decision, Judge Saliann Scarpulla, wrote the following in response:
Dr. Luke argues and the majority accepts that Dr. Luke is not a limited purpose personality as he has never sought or advertised Kesha’s sexual assault allegations or sexual assault. That Dr. Luke has not spoken publicly about Kesha’s sexual assault allegations is unsurprising, irrelevant, and does not preclude the finding that he is a public figure with limited purpose. The definition of a person with a limited purpose in public space is not so narrow that it includes only persons and organizations who speak specifically about the specific, narrow topic (in this case the sexual assault of a protégé) on which the defamation claim is based.
As THR points out, New York passed a new anti-SLAPP law last year designed to prevent powerful individuals from using their legal resources to suppress freedom of expression. Earlier this month, Kesha’s team filed a counterclaim to seek damages and punitive damages under those laws.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, we encourage you to seek support:
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline http://www.rainn.org
1 800 656 HOPE (4673)
Line of crisis text
http://www.facebook.com/crisistextline (chat support)
SMS: Text “HERE” to 741-741