LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop singer Kesha and music producer Dr. Luke unleashed dueling lawsuits on Tuesday trading accusations of abuse and extortion as the “Die Young” singer says she wants out of her record contract with the hit-making producer.
Kesha, 27, whose legal name is Kesha Sebert, has accused Dr. Luke in a civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court of sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse.
The lawsuit accuses Dr. Luke, whose legal name is Lukasz Gottwald, of forcing Kesha to “take drugs and alcohol in order to take advantage of her sexually while she was intoxicated.”
The 41-year-old producer behind hits for singers such as Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus responded with his own lawsuit in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan accusing Kesha and her mother, Pebe Sebert, of defamation, breach of contract and contractual interference.
The lawsuit accuses Kesha and her mother of orchestrating a campaign to publish “false and shocking accusations” against Dr. Luke to extort him into letting the singer out of her contract.
“Kesha’s lawsuit is nothing more than a continuation of her bad and offensive acts,” Dr. Luke’s attorney, Christine Lepera said in a statement.
Kesha, who has scored No. 1 U.S. hits “Tik Tok” and “We R Who We R” that Dr. Luke helped write and produce, has been under contract to record for Dr. Luke’s music production company and record label since 2005.
Kesha’s lawsuit accuses Dr. Luke of drugging and raping the singer and threatening her career if she told anyone about it, among other lurid accusations about the producer’s personal life.
“This lawsuit is a wholehearted effort by Kesha to regain control of her music career and her personal freedom after suffering for 10 years as a victim of mental manipulation, emotional abuse and sexual assault at the hands of Dr. Luke,” the singer’s attorney, Mark Geragos, said in a statement.
Geragos said Dr. Luke’s suit “has no basis in fact, the law or reality.”
Kesha’s lawsuit also names Dr. Luke’s companies as defendants. It demands unspecified damages and to void Kesha’s current contracts with Dr. Luke.
It alleges the producer’s insults to Kesha’s appearance caused her to develop bulimia nervosa. She finished a more than two-month treatment for the condition in March.
The lawsuit says physicians at the rehab clinic determined that Kesha continuing to work with Dr. Luke would be “life threatening.”
In addition to Kesha and her mother, Dr. Luke’s lawsuit names the singer’s manager and management company. The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and unspecified damages.
Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Jonathan Oatis