When Corporations Protect Powerful Men Who’ve Done Awful Things

Kesha fans calling on Sony to drop Dr. Luke. Photo: Robert Pluma.
Why did demonstrators target the headquarters of the media mogul Sony?

Sony needs to be held accountable for how it treats women like Kesha. Right now, Kesha is locked into an exclusive contract with the man she says abused her, producer Dr. Luke. His record label, Kemosabe Records, is owned by Sony.

A day before we delivered over 120,000 signatures demanding that Sony free Kesha and end rape contracts now, we heard the rumors that Sony was considering quitting Dr. Luke. It’s the sensible decision given the seriousness of the allegations raised against Dr. Luke and the public outcry that has ensued.

Now we need to make sure they follow through.
SumOfUs delivering 120,00 signatures of music lovers calling on Sony to #FreeKesha. Photo: Robert Pluma.

While New York Courts rebuffed Kesha’s attempts to have her contract nulled, Sony can solve the problem directly — by stepping out of its contract with Dr. Luke.

If instead, they renew the contract with the troubled producer, Sony will send a very problematic message that corporate profits matter more than the wellbeing of victims who were sexually assaulted.

That’s unacceptable to hundreds of thousands of fans, including high-profile artists like Adele and Lena Dunham — among so many others — who have come forward in solidarity with Kesha.

By cutting ties with Dr. Luke, Sony can end this once and for all.

What’s so shocking about Kesha’s story is the economics of her value to Sony over the years laid bare, especially in relation to male executives, and the primacy the courts placed on the profits supposedly at risk if she severed the relationship with her alleged abuser.

Money and the law have often been used to keep women in their place. There’s a history of exploitative and controlling contracts for women in Hollywood and in the record industry. But Sony doesn’t just answer to the courts or the men in power, it answers to millions of customers and fans who care passionately about artists like Kesha. And we can’t stomach what we’re seeing.

Our members are music lovers, and we don’t want our purchases to support rape contracts. That’s why the SumOfUs Community came together and worked with other digital platforms like Care2 and UltraViolet to put pressure on Sony. We mobilized online and in person, visited Sony headquarters in New York and projected our message ten feet high on their walls.

That’s only some of what we have in store.

There are much deeper issues at stake here about the vulnerability women face in the entertainment industry and how hard it is to report sexual assault as a victim. It’s clear that there is much more work to be done. In the meantime, Sony has a clear decision in front of them that could make a difference right now.

Kesha has been placed in a seriously messed up predicament: work for her abuser, or say goodbye to her career. Nobody should have to work under such duress.

Sony has the power to set Kesha free, and they need to do the right thing.

Nicole Carty is a senior campaigner with SumOfUs, a global consumer watchdog with a community of over 6 million worldwide.

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