Lena Dunham Voices Support for Kesha Amid Dr. Luke Battle, Defines ‘Financial Abuse’
Lena Dunham's joined the chorus of Kesha supporters, voicing empathy after a judge denied her request for an injunction that would have effectively severed ties with Sony and Dr. Luke, the producer she's accused of verbal and sexual abuse. In a post titled "Why Kesha's Case Is About More Than Kesha" on her Lenny site, Dunham explains why she thinks "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."
"It's even about more than the systemic misogyny of the entertainment industry, or the way that women in music and film have long been controlled and coerced by abusive Svengalis and entities larger than themselves," the Girls creator writes, touching on an issue that female entertainers have been calling out with increasing frequency.
Dunham also points to a major sticking point in the case, in which Kesha and her counsel assert that an irate Dr. Luke (and by extension, Sony) could leave any work she records without him unpublicized and thus unsold. Dr. Luke's attorneys argue that this point is invalid, since Kesha's technically "free" to record without Dr. Luke even if she's still beholden to his label under Sony.
But Dunham sheds light on Kesha's perspective: "This kind of control is a cornerstone of domestic abuse, and it's far too common: according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, financial abuse is an aspect of approximately 98 percent of abusive relationships. 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."
The issue of "proof" in cases of alleged abuse and sexual assault reporting — which Dr. Luke himself seems to feel is a black-and-white matter, according to his series of tweets on February 22 — is something that affects many women far less famous than Kesha, and Dunham points out why even the fact that Sony insists on continuing the business relationship is problematic.
"The fact is, Kesha will never have a doctor's note. She will never have a videotape that shows us that Gottwald threatened and shamed her, and she will never be able to prove, beyond the power of her testimony, that she is unsafe doing business with this man," Dunham writes. "And no, none of this was in her contract. But what man, what company endeavors to keep a woman saddled with someone who she says has caused her years of trauma, shame, and fear? Fighting this fight publicly and in the legal system has already changed the course and tenor of her career forever."
Dunham does point out that the dialogue surrounding the case has furthered one positive trend: It signals a new era in which female entertainers will no longer accept abusive, insulting treatment that was once considered a price of fame. "Those days are over. They are f---king done."
Jack Antonoff, Dunham's musician boyfriend whose credits include co-producing Taylor Swift's "Out of the Woods," also reached out to Kesha this week with an offer to collaborate.
Read Dunham's entire post over at Lenny.