Kesha has been ordered to pay over $373,000 as part of her ongoing legal battle with her former producer Dr. Luke. Court documents reveal that New York State Supreme Court Judge Jennifer G. Schecter made the ruling on Thursday, asserting that a text message the High Road musician sent to Lady Gaga in 2016 was defamation.
The message saw Kesha claim that Dr. Luke, real name Lukasz Gottwald, had raped Katy Perry. "There is no evidence whatsoever that [Dr. Luke] raped Katy Perry. Moreover, publication of a false statement to even one person, here Lady Gaga, is sufficient to impose liability," Schecter said. In a 2017 deposition, Perry denied that such sexual assault against her ever took place.
Kesha's legal team argued that Dr. Luke is a "public figure," which Judge Schecter rejected. She said the producer "certainly is not a 'general public figure,'" and he "has never been a household name or achieved general pervasive fame and notoriety in the community." Schecter added that because of this, "actual malice standard is inapplicable."
"Though Gottwald has sought publicity for his label, his music, and his artists—none of which are the subject of the defamation here—he never injected himself into the public debate about sexual assault or abuse of artists in the entertainment industry,” Schecter added. “The only reason Gottwald has any public connection to the issues raised in this lawsuit is because they were raised in this lawsuit.”
The money Kesha was ordered to pay, meanwhile, was reportedly due to a breach of contract with Dr. Luke's company, KMI, over late royalty payments. In total, she will have to pay $373,671.88 in interest. Her team is looking to appeal the decision. "Judge Schecter issued rulings today on motions for summary judgment in the Dr. Luke litigation," Kesha's lawyers said in a statement. "We disagree with the court's rulings. We plan to immediately appeal."
Dr. Luke and Kesha have been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle since 2014 following her allegation that he sexually abused her. The ruling comes around a week after Kesha dropped her fourth studio album, High Road.