Sad news for Kesha and her fans. The “TiK ToK” singer has been barred from taking the stage at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 22.
Dick Clark Productions, which oversees the annual awards show, released a statement on Tuesday, May 17, revealing that the 29-year-old’s scheduled performance has been canceled by her producer, Dr. Luke, and her label, Kemosabe Records. The singer has been in a contentious legal battle with Dr. Luke, 42, over allegations that he sexually abused her.
"Kesha accepted an invitation to perform on the show and she received written approval from Dr. Luke's record label, Kemosabe Records," Dick Clark Productions said in a statement. "Kemosabe subsequently rescinded its approval following a media report on Wednesday May 11 regarding Kesha’s appearance on the Billboard Music Awards. Unfortunately, Kesha and Kemosabe have since been unable to come to an agreement for Kesha to perform on the show."
Regardless of the dispute, Dick Clark Productions remains hopeful that Dr. Luke and Kemosabe Records — which is owned by music conglomerate Sony — will eventually agree to allow the embattled chart-topper to sing at the event.
"Dick Clark Productions has a long-standing relationship with Kesha,” the company added. “We hope that the parties can come to an arrangement such that we can continue that long-standing relationship with a performance by Kesha on the Billboard Music Awards stage on May 22."
Not long after, Kesha took to Instagram to respond to the news that her Billboard Music Awards set has been canceled.
"I was very excited to perform a tribute to Bob Dylan by singing a cover of 'It ain't me, babe' at the Billboard awards this year. I'm very sad and sorry to say I won't be allowed to do this," she wrote. "I just wanted to make very clear that this performance was about me honoring one of my favorite songwriters of all time and has never had anything at all to do with Dr. Luke. I was never going to use a picture of him, speak of him or allude to my legal situation in any way. I simply wanted to sing a song I love to honor an artist I have always looked up to. thank u all for the continued support."
According to TMZ, Dr. Luke put a halt to Kesha’s performance after catching wind that it was reportedly going to make a “statement” about her legal war with her former collaborator and Sony.
As Us Weekly previously reported in February, a Manhattan judge denied Kesha’s motion to be released from her contractual working obligations with Dr. Luke (real name: Lukasz Gottwald).
New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich made the ruling after listening to arguments from both Kesha and Dr. Luke, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“You’re asking the court to decimate a contract that was heavily negotiated and typical for the industry,” the judge told Kesha’s attorney, Mark Geragos, adding that her instinct was “to do the commercially reasonable thing.”
Dr. Luke has strongly denied Kesha’s claims of abuse. "I didn’t rape Kesha and I have never had sex with her,” he tweeted on February 22. "Kesha and I were friends for many years and she was like my little sister."
His lawyers reiterated the rebuttal in a statement to Us that same day. "As Dr. Luke has said repeatedly, the allegations against him are outright lies that have been advanced to extort a contract renegotiation and money,” the statement read. “Kesha and her counsel have cavalierly subjected Dr. Luke and his family to trial by Twitter, using a vicious smear campaign to ruin his reputation for financial gain while failing to support their claims. Kesha to date has never verified the allegations in this case — even when given the opportunity in her affidavit. Nor has she ever offered a credible explanation as to why she would have signed a second recording agreement, recorded two albums and an EP and signed a publishing deal with Dr. Luke after allegedly being sexually abused. It will further be shown that the incidents alleged never happened.”
Back in February, parent company Sony explained that it is unable to break Kesha’s contract with Dr. Luke.
“Sony has made it possible for Kesha to record without any connection, involvement or interaction with Luke whatsoever, but Sony is not in a position to terminate the contractual relationship between Luke and Kesha,” Scott A. Edelman, an attorney representing the music conglomerate, told The New York Times. “Sony is doing everything it can to support the artist in these circumstances, but is legally unable to terminate the contract to which it is not a party.”
Kesha filed paperwork on March 21 to appeal the court ruling. A new court date has yet to be scheduled. Since then, Kesha has received support from fellow female artists such as Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato.
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