According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, Sony Music is “ending its partnership” with Dr. Luke, center in the above photo, whose life over the last several years has been consumed by a legal battle with Ke$ha over allegations that the mega-producer sexually and emotionally abused her while she was signed to his label. Representatives for Luke, Sony, and Ke$ha did not provide any confirmation or comment regarding the report.
Dr. Luke’s label, Kemosabe Records, has been housed under Sony Music since 2011, when he signed a deal with the label that reportedly would pay him $60 million over five years for writing and producing exclusively for their artists, in addition to the creation of his own imprint. That deal would have terminated sometime this year, and there has been speculation for over a year that Sony would walk away from the partnership at that time. In March 2016, The Wrap reported that Sony would not renew its contract with Dr. Luke, a claim that a representative for Luke denied at the time, saying, “Luke has an excellent relationship with Sony.” But the label’s silence at that point may have been foreshadowing. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Luke is no longer the CEO of Kemosabe Records, and a page “devoted to Dr. Luke” on Sony Music’s website has been removed.
Ever since Ke$ha first made allegations of abuse in 2014, Dr. Luke the artist has been far overshadowed by Dr. Luke the alleged abuser. In the last few years, the one-time golden boy of pop music has been behind only one fairly unmemorable hit single, R. City’s “Locked Away.” Where in the past he was on call for superstars like Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, he has recently been forced to spend his time on reclamation projects like Jennifer Lopez and Ciara or his own fledgling artists like Becky G and Lunchmoney Lewis.
Instead, headlines have focused on his courtroom fights with Ke$ha, which have been exceedingly personal and vindictive. Luke, born Lukasz Gottwald, has won several rulings over Ke$ha, born Kesha Sebert, but, per the Hollywood Reporter, Ke$ha currently has three appeals pending regarding the case. As the Hollywood Reporter points out, Ke$ha has previously said in court filings that the dissolution of Sony’s relationship with Luke would be harmful to her because she would no longer have the large corporation acting as a middleman between her and her alleged abuser.