Dr. Luke has filed a second defamation suit against Kesha’s mother, Pebe Sebert, Pitchfork reports. The producer, born Lukasz Gottwald, accuses Sebert of committing libel in tweets and in a March interview with Billboard about Kesha’s ongoing legal battle with her former producer and alleged abuser.
The newest suit, filed in Sebert’s home state of Tennessee, follows up on a pair of 2014 lawsuits in Tennessee and New York. In those suits, Dr. Luke claimed Sebert committed defamation by supporting Kesha’s accusations that Luke physically, sexually, and emotionally abused her. Luke’s case against Sebert was dismissed in New York, but the earlier Tennessee suit remains open.
In a statement to Pitchfork, Dr. Luke’s lawyer Christine Lepera said, “After we originally filed suit against Pebe Sebert, she continued to make outrageous, false, and defamatory statements against Dr. Luke in her widespread media campaign to damage him and smear his name. Pebe Sebert’s lawyers flat out refused to allow us to add those statements to the existing case or to toll the statute of limitations on them — so we’ve been compelled to file an additional action.”
Alex Little, a lawyer for the Sebert family, responded, “This marks Dr. Luke’s second effort to sue a mother for publicly supporting and believing her daughter about being raped. It’s also a transparent attempt to delay the trial of these issues.”
Last month, Kesha dropped her original lawsuit in California, which alleged a pattern of abuse by Dr. Luke throughout her singing career. Dr. Luke’s countersuit in New York is ongoing. Thus far, the results haven’t been particularly favorable for Kesha. In February, Judge Shirley Kornreich refused to grant a preliminary injunction that would have allowed her to suspend her contract with Luke and work with other producers while the case was pending. Kesha has appealed that ruling, but the contract remains in effect. In April, Judge Kornreich threw out most of Kesha’s counterclaims against Luke.
Also in April, Pebe Sebert dropped a Tennessee countersuit against Dr. Luke, in which she claimed emotional distress. Sebert is herself a songwriter who’s co-written hits for Dolly Parton, Pitbull, and her daughter.
Recently, Kesha has sought to restart her long-stalled career, covering Bob Dylan at the Billboard Music Awards (after obtaining Dr. Luke’s approval) and performing new music on tour with her band Kesha and the Creepies.