In the midst of the ongoing legal war with Kesha regarding rape allegations, Sony Music has decided to end its partnership with Dr. Luke as the CEO of their Kemosabe Records. Dr. Luke (né Lukasz Gottwald) established the label with Sony in 2011, when the producer gained prominence for being behind such smash hits as Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.”
The deal gave Dr. Luke essentially creative freedom in return for exclusive rights to his services as a producer for Sony. The label itself wasn’t home to too many hits, but Dr. Luke continued to mastermind Sony chart-toppers like Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” and Pitbull’s “Timber.”
Despite continued success, since Kesha came forward in October 2014 to accuse the producer of forcing her to take a date-rape drug and taking advantage of her in a hotel room, tensions have been high. The allegations mounted on, including claims that the producer had exerted “suffocating control” over her life, bombarding her with insults about her weight and denying her profits from her work, including the multiplatinum single “Tik Tok.”
Since, Dr. Luke has filed a defamation claim of his own, saying that Kesha’s attempt to remove herself from her contracts as extortion. A New York judge rejected Kesha’s attempt at an injunction so that she could work away from the auspices of Dr. Luke, then threw out her “hate crime” counterclaims, then denied her a second attempt at counterclaims premised on an alleged breach of contract. Last week, Kesha filed a notice of appeal on a nixed bid to impose California’s seven-year limit on personal service contracts — marking the third pending appeal in this Kesha-Luke dispute before a New York appeals court.
Several claims had been made so far, saying that Dr. Luke and Sony were negotiating a split. However, it is now made official via court papers that the producer is no longer CEO of Kemosabe Records, and the company asserts that he no longer has any authority to act on its behalf. A page devoted to Dr. Luke on Sony’s website has also been removed.