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How Pop Stars Who Have Worked with Dr. Luke Reacted to Kesha's Lawsuit

Taylor Swift may have donated $250,000 to support Kesha, but many of Dr. Luke's main collaborators—including Ciara and Pitbull—have stayed silent.
February 23, 2016, 8:10pm
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Since a judge denied Kesha's preliminary injunction to record music without producer Dr. Luke, female pop stars have tweeted their support of Kesha. In 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against Dr. Luke, alleging he drugged and raped her. Dr. Luke sued her back, accusing her of lying to get out of a contract; Dr. Luke has denied all of Kesha's allegations. Yesterday, he went on a Twitter rant, saying he had neither raped nor had sex with Kesha. He also compared Kesha to his little sister.


The legal drama has reverberated throughout the music industry. On Sunday, news broke that Taylor Swift had donated $250,000 to Kesha, although she had not publicly tweeted about the lawsuit. According to TMZ, Kesha claims she's running low on cash because Dr. Luke has refused to pay her royalties. In a statement, Swift's spokesperson said, "In a show of support, Taylor Swift has donated $250,000 to Kesha to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time." (Swift has never recorded with Dr. Luke, but she worked with Dr. Luke's mentor Max Martin on Red and 1989.)

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Swift's collaborations with Martin are regularly attributed as some of the reasons Swift has transformed from a country star into a pop blockbuster. Martin lives in Sweden, but has written and produced most of America's hits from the past 20 years, from "I Want It That Way" to "… Baby One More Time" to "Blank Space" to "Can't Feel My Face." Martin frequently works alongside his protege Dr. Luke, along with the younger producers Shellback, Cirkut, and Benny Blanco. The men work like a hit making mafia, collaborating on songs together for America's biggest pop stars: Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and Miley Cyrus, among other celebrities. If you're a huge female pop star, you've probably worked with Martin, Dr. Luke, or someone else in their hit factory entourage.

Since Friday, several of Dr. Luke's collaborators have voiced support for Kesha, but others have remained quiet. A look at Dr. Luke's frequent collaborators' response, or silence, to the lawsuit reveals the messy criss-crossing Kesha will experience as her legal battle continues. Here is a guide to Dr. Luke's biggest pop star collaborators' reactions to Kesha's lawsuit.


Pop Star: Ciara
Relationship to Dr. Luke: Ciara first collaborated with Dr. Luke in 2009 on her song "Tell Me What Your Name Is," which he co-wrote and co-produced. Since Kesha filed a lawsuit against Dr. Luke in 2014, Ciara has released five songs produced and co-written by Dr. Luke.
Reaction to Rape Allegations: Ciara has issued no comments about the lawsuit. She has not returned Broadly's request for comment.

Pop Star: Kelly Clarkson
Relationship to Dr. Luke: When Britney Spears-style teen pop fell out of fashion in the mid-2000s, Dr. Luke's mentor, Max Martin, also became passe. He resurrected his career in 2004 by pairing up with Dr. Luke to co-write and co-produce two huge songs on Kelly Clarkson's 2004 hit album Breakaway: "Since U Been Gone" and "Behind These Hazel Eyes." According to the New Yorker, Dr. Luke added a rock edge to Martin's sound. Since Breakaway, the pair has recorded with Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and numerous other pop stars. They reunited with Clarkson in 2009 for "My Life Would Suck Without You."
Statement: On Friday, Clarkson tweeted, "Trying 2 not say anything since I can't say anything nice about a person… so this is me not talking about Dr. Luke." She did not return Broadly's request for comment.

Pop Star: Miley Cyrus
Relationship to Dr. Luke: Dr. Luke produced "Wrecking Ball" with Cirkut. (Terry Richardson, who has been repeatedly accused of sexual assault, directed the music video.) Last year, a source close to Miley Cyrus told the Hollywood Reporter that Cyrus refused to work with Dr. Luke again.
Statement: Over the weekend, Cyrus instagrammed Fiona Apple holding a sign that said, "KESHA - I AM SO ANGRY FOR YOU. THEY WERE WRONG. I'M SORRY." She did not return Broadly's request for comment.


Pop Star: Flo Rida
Relationship to Dr. Luke: Dr. Luke has co-written and produced five songs for Flo Rida, including last year's "Once in a Lifetime," which Flo Rida released after Kesha filed her lawsuit. In 2009, Dr. Luke collaborated with Flo Rida on a song called "Right Round." The track featured Kesha singing the refrain. According to a Billboard cover story, Kesha sauntered into the recording studio by coincidence, and Dr. Luke had her sing. She received no payment for her work, although the single went to number one on the Billboard charts.
Statement: Flo Rida hasn't made a statement about the lawsuit. He did not return Broadly's request for comment.

Pop Star: Jessie J
Relationship to Dr. Luke: Dr. Luke produced and co-wrote six songs for Jessie J between 2011 and 2013.
Statement: Jessie J has not released a statement about the lawsuit. She did not return Broadly's request for comment.

Pop Star: Marina and the Diamonds
Relationship to Dr. Luke: Dr. Luke co-wrote and co-produced two tracks on Marina and the Diamond's 2012 album Elektra Heart. They have not reunited since the album. Last year, she told the BBC, "Co-writing is killing pop music."
Statement: Marina and the Diamonds has not commented or expressed support for Kesha. When asked for comment, her spokesperson declined.

Pop Star: Nicki Minaj
Relationship to Dr. Luke: Dr. Luke wrote and co-produced three tracks on Pink Friday: Reloaded and The Pink Print.
Statement: Minaj has not commented on the lawsuit, but over the weekend she unfollowed Dr. Luke on Twitter. She did not return Broadly's request for comment.

Pop Star: Katy Perry
Relationship to Dr. Luke: Dr. Luke has been central to Katy Perry's career. He co-produced and co-wrote her breakthrough single "I Kissed a Girl." (Kesha is in the music video.) Since then, Dr. Luke and Perry have collaborated 15 times on songs for Perry's Teenage Dream and Prism albums.
Statement: Perry has not commented on the lawsuit. She did not return Broadly's request for comment.

Pop Star: Pitbull
Relationship to Dr. Luke: Between 2009 and 2014, Pitbull and Dr. Luke have collaborated on eight songs, both Pitbull tracks like 2014's "Time of Our Lives" and Pitbull's guest track on Becky G's 2012 flop "Can't Get Enough." In 2013, Dr. Luke co-wrote and co-produced Pitbull's duet with Kesha, "Timber." The song peaked at number one. It was Kesha's last single to date.
Statement: Pitbull hasn't commented on the lawsuit. He did not reply to Broadly's request for comment.

Pop Star: R. Kelly
Relationship to Dr. Luke: Last year, Dr. Luke produced R. Kelly's song "Marching Band" with Cirkut, JMIKE, and Kelly.
Statement: R. Kelly has not issued a statement about his work with an alleged rapist. He did not return Broadly's request for comment.

Pop Star: Britney Spears
Relationship to Dr. Luke: Following her 2007 mental breakdown, Britney Spears turned to Dr. Luke for pop hits. He produced and co-wrote three songs on her 2008 comeback album Circus, including the title track, which peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Three years later, Dr. Luke executive produced Spears' Femme Fatale album. He co-produced five songs on the record: "Till the World Ends," "Hold It Against Me," "Inside Out," "Seal It with a Kiss," and "Gasoline." Kesha sings back-up vocals on Spears's 2008 Dr. Luke-produced track "Lace and Leather."
Reaction to Rape Allegations: Spears has issued no comments about the lawsuit. She did not return Broadly's request for comment.