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Following Kesha’s denied injunction that would have allowed her to record music outside her six-album contract with producer Dr. Luke — who, according to a lawsuit she brought against him in October 2014, is also her alleged rapist — the musician’s mother has broken her silence.
“She was a prisoner,” Rosemary Patricia “Pebe” Sebert tells Billboard exclusively, regarding claims that Luke controlled and psychologically abused the singer from the time she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career in 2005 through her breakthrough in 2010 and beyond. “It was like someone who beats you every day and hangs you from a chain and then comes in and gives you a piece of bread. Luke would say, ‘You look nice today,'” says Pebe, “and send her into hysterics of happiness because she was programmed to expect nothing but abuse.”
Here are the 5 biggest revelations from Pebe’s extensive discussion.
“I wanted Kesha to come forward a long time ago and end this relationship with Dr. Luke immediately after the [alleged] rape. … But if she wanted to have a shot at the music business, she had no choice but [to work with him],” says Pebe of the 2005 night in which Kesha claims the producer raped her after giving her what he called “sober pills,” which was GHB, a drug commonly used in sexual assaults. “Looking back, I don’t know why we didn’t go to the police. Kesha told me not to do anything. She said, ‘Mom, I just want to sing. I don’t want to be a rape-case victim. I just want to get my music out.’ I didn’t follow my instincts.”
After a failed record deal with Warner Bros., Pebe says, “Kesha would tell me she was going to take her car to Mulholland and drive off the cliff. She was a little dramatic, but I never knew for sure.” One day Pebe says that Kesha reached her on the phone and said, “Dr. Luke just called me, and I have 24 hours to fire my lawyer and my managers and go back with him. Anytime I get a contract, he’s going to come forward and basically say he owns me. What do I do?”
Pebe also claims that Dr. Luke interfered with her personal and professional relationship with her daughter while Kesha was recording her debut album, Animal. He refused to let her work on the music, even though he had promised he would. In 2013, she sent emails, which she has shown to Billboard, to Dr. Luke and his team about the mistreatment Kesha was enduring from Luke inside the studio and out, including the alleged rape. Pebe says he never wrote back.
On the run
On one song, according to Pebe, Luke wanted her to sing a lyric that included the phrase “some fat bitches in the bar,” and when she refused, Pebe says that Luke backed her into a corner, shaking his fist and screaming at her. Kesha, according to the 2014 lawsuit, bolted out of the studio and ran barefoot down Pacific Coast Highway, crying. She climbed up nearby mountains and hid so he wouldn’t be able to find her, then, says Pebe, called her manager to come pick her up.
Pebe says that Luke constantly criticized Kesha, saying things like, “Katy Perry is so much better than you. You’re not a good writer,” after she worked long hours in the studio. (Kesha and Perry were once close friends, “before they both got famous,” says Pebe.)
Read the full story at Billboard.com.
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