Lena Dunham Defends Kesha: Dr. Luke's Efforts to Halt Her Career Is "Domestic Abuse"

Lena Dunham Talk - H 2016
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Lena Dunham Talk - H 2016

"What's happening to Kesha highlights the way that the American legal system continues to hurt women by failing to protect them from the men they identify as their abusers," the 'Girls' creator wrote in Tuesday's Lenny Letter.

Lena Dunham is standing with Kesha, who alleges that Dr. Luke drugged and raped her a decade ago and has committed ongoing abuse.

The Girls creator and star showed her support in Tuesday's edition of Lenny Letter, her online newsletter with Girls co-showrunner Jenni Konner.  

In an essay titled "Why Kesha's Case Is About More Than Kesha," Dunham wrote of how she was sick with "a special brand of nausea" while reading the news of the singer's recently denied injunction that would have allow her to record outside of Dr. Luke's purview. The judge said it's not reasonable to "decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated."

"I think this seems like a pretty reasonable request," Dunham reflected after recapping the case's events. "While the allegations of sexual assault and emotional abuse cannot be proven definitively, I think Kesha's words speak for themselves: 'I know I cannot work with Dr. Luke. I physically cannot. I don't feel safe in any way.' "

"Sony could make this go away. But instead the company has chosen to engage in a protracted legal battle to protect Gottwald's stake in Kesha's future," she continued. "They are minimizing what Kesha says regarding how Gottwald's continued involvement in her career would affect her physical well-being and psychological safety.... Guess what else is heavily negotiated? The human contract that says we will not hurt one another physically and emotionally. In fact, it's so obvious that we usually don't add it to our corporate documents."

Dunham argued that though Kesha's case touches on many issues, "what's happening to Kesha highlights the way that the American legal system continues to hurt women by failing to protect them from the men they identify as their abusers." Additionally, Dr. Luke's potential "efforts to bury her subsequent albums, preventing her from publicizing and therefore profiting from her work" is a kind of control that "is a cornerstone of domestic abuse.... When a woman is not in control of her financial destiny, either because her partner is the primary breadwinner or because he makes financial decisions for the entire family, her world is made minuscule. Her resources evaporate. Fear dominates."

"What man, what company endeavors to keep a woman saddled with someone who she says has caused her years of trauma, shame, and fear?" she added. "Fighting this fight publicly and in the legal system has already changed the course and tenor of her career forever. The lack of perspective on the part of Sony — the inability to look at the worth of a woman's platinum records versus the worth of her soul being intact — is horrifying."

Dunham ended the essay with hope, thankful that women like Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato are making their support for Kesha known. "We 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. The women in the music industry speaking out for Kesha are proof. And their words will reverberate, inspiring the young women watching them for clues about the good life to speak up too. 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."

Read the full essay at Lenny Letter.