Lena Dunham is the latest star to speak out on Kesha’s behalf after Friday’s court ruling, in which a judge denied the pop star a preliminary injunction against producer Lukasz Gottwald, a.k.a. Dr. Luke, who Kesha has accused of “sexual and drug related assault.”
In Tuesday’s edition of her newsletter Lenny Letter, Dunham published an essay, “Why Kesha’s Case Is About More Than Kesha.” She writes, “When I saw the outcome of Kesha’s court case last Friday, I felt sick.”
Dunham runs through the specifics of the case before concluding: “To be clear, Kesha’s case is about more than a pop star fighting for her freedom, or a $60 million investment in a shiny commercial career.” She continues, “It’s about more than whether Kesha can strap on her cool leotards and make another album, free from a man who she says terrifies her. 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. (Think: the studio system of the ’40s and ’50s, when starlets were essentially chattel. Think: Ike and Tina Turner.) 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.”
Dunham also shouts out artists and musicians who have stood up for Kesha. “The public outcry about Kesha’s case has been truly heartening: the swell of shock and indignation from fans and fellow performers alike,” she writes. “It wasn’t long ago that women in the public eye didn’t have a loose-enough leash to reach out and support one another, for fear of losing all they had worked so hard to create. Instead they quietly watched on their televisions, hoping they wouldn’t be next.”
After the ruling, stars like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Jojo, Demi Lovato, and Kelly Clarkson, who worked with Dr. Luke on hits like “Since U Been Gone” and “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” spoke out on Twitter in support of the #FreeKesha movement. Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to Kesha “to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time,” and Dunham’s boyfriend and Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff offered to work with Kesha “and then leak it for everyone around.”
“The women in the music industry speaking out for Kesha are proof. And their words will reverberate, inspiring the young women watching them for clues about the good life to speak up too. Soon, no one will accept shame and fear as the status quo. And so, while Kesha is indefinitely silenced, her voice has never been louder.”
For Dunham’s full essay, subscribe to Lenny Letter.