It’s hard to be a woman in the music industry. That’s a lesson that gets learned over and over again–including recently, when multiple allegations against publicist Heathcliff Berru from women who’ve worked with him became public. But that story at least had a resolution with accountability–unlike the court ruling today in Kesha’s case against Sony, where the artist sought injunctive relief against the label to void or amend a recording contract that required her to either work with a producer who she says raped her, or to watch her work go unpromoted.
A New York state supreme court justice ruled against Kesha’s request for an injunction, stating that the singer was “asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry,” stating that she believed Sony would suffer “irreparable harm” if Kesha were allowed out of the deal she signed as a teenager without providing the label with an additional six albums.
The conversation around sexual assault and harassment in music may have garnered attention in recent months–from Lady Gaga’s video depicting campus rape to the discussion that followed the allegations around Berru–but thus far, few Sony artists have spoken out about their label’s arguments in court, or its relationship with Kesha. (That includes Gaga, as well as socially-minded artists like Beyonce and John Legend.)
Other artists, though, have begun finding their voices on Twitter. Megastar Lorde gave her support during this “traumatic, deeply unfair time,” while rising star Halsey offered a frank tweet assessing the situation–as did Best Coast’s Bethany Consentino (who also spoke out against Berru), Lily Allen, Alyssa Shouse, Alessia Cara, and Arika Kane.
Of course, speaking out against men who commit sexual violence, and the systems that enable them–and that discredits their accusers–isn’t just a job for women. Male artists from Jack Johnson (of Jack & Jack) to Wale to Ricky Dillon have also made their voices heard in the wake of the news.
While we may never know exactly what happened between Kesha and Dr. Luke, one thing is clear: Making the allegations against him public has had a very serious impact on both Kesha’s personal life and career, while the consequences for him have been negligible. As other female artists consider what allegations to voice, there’s little doubt that they’ll look at how Kesha’s case has gone when choosing whether to speak up–and that’s not good news for anybody.