Kesha and Dr. Luke settle defamation lawsuit over rape allegations

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A woman with blond hair wearing a tight white dress stands looking directly at the camera

Kesha and Dr. Luke have settled their defamation lawsuit out of court, ending a fraught, decade-long legal battle stemming from the singer's claim that her former producer sexually assaulted her in 2005.

"Only God knows what happened that night," Kesha, 36, wrote in a joint statement with Dr. Luke on Thursday. "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."

“While I appreciate Kesha again acknowledging that she cannot recount what happened that night in 2005, I am absolutely certain that nothing happened,” added Dr. Luke, 49, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald. “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 10 years. It is time for me to put this difficult matter behind me and move on with my life. I wish Kesha well.”

In October 2014, Kesha filed a civil suit against Dr. Luke and accused him of drugging and raping her, while also saying he had abused her "sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally" since she was 18. The producer filed a defamation lawsuit against Kesha days later, accusing her of fabricating the story to get out of her recording contract with him.

Kesha sought a preliminary injunction to be released from Dr. Luke's record label, Kemosabe, which was denied in February 2016. She dropped her own civil lawsuit in 2016, stating a desire to return her focus to the music while appealing the injunction ruling.

In 2020, a judge ruled Kesha had defamed Dr. Luke while accusing him of raping Katy Perry in a text message to Lady Gaga, as there was "no evidence whatsoever" that he did. The following year, a judge ruled Dr. Luke isn't a public figure — meaning he had an easier path to proving he was defamed.

Less than two weeks ago, however, a New York Court of Appeals judge ruled Dr. Luke was indeed a public figure, and would have a higher burden of proof to win his lawsuit. A trial had been set to begin July 19.

Dr. Luke and Kesha stand at an awards show.
In 2014, Kesha filed a civil suit against Dr. Luke and accused him of drugging and raping her in 2005. (Chris Pizzello / Associated Press)

Dr. Luke first signed Kesha to his publishing company, Prescription Songs, in September 2005. Kesha claimed the producer drugged her the following month during a party at Paris Hilton's house in the Hollywood Hills before taking her back to his hotel and "raping her while she was unconscious."

Dr. Luke went on to produce and co-write much of Kesha's debut No. 1 album, "Animal," released in 2009, including her breakthrough hit "Tik Tok," which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks. By 2012, Kesha had expressed frustration with her lack of control over her musical direction, hinting she wanted to explore her rock roots and tweeting (and deleting) she was "forced" to sing the lyrics to "Die Young" against her will, while the song was pulled from radio stations following the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Kesha's latest album, "Gag Order," was released on May 19. It's her final album for Kemosabe. She's scheduled to perform at the Hollywood Palladium on Nov. 18.

Dr. Luke has multiple songwriting and production credits on the forthcoming Kim Petras album, set for release tonight at 9 p.m. PT. He co-wrote and produced Lil Durk's "All My Life" featuring J. Cole, which currently sits at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.