Kesha (l) Kim Petras (r)

Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock (Licensed)

#FreeKesha resurges after pop singer Kim Petras drops Dr. Luke-produced record

Fans on Twitter and TikTok are criticizing Petras for working with the producer—again.

 

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 14, 2022   Updated on Feb 14, 2022, 10:10 am CST

Singer Kim Petras is under fire this week after releasing a record produced by Lukasz Gottwald, better known as Dr. Luke, the prolific producer and songwriter who was accused of rape and abuse by Kesha.

Dr. Luke and Kesha have been embroiled in a series of lawsuits since 2014, and while Kesha’s sexual abuse claims were dismissed by a judge in 2016, she still has widespread public support. Sony ended its partnership with Dr. Luke in 2017, and the #FreeKesha hashtag—similar to the #FreeBritney fan campaign—has been circulating on social media for years. It returned this weekend on Twitter and TikTok, as fans criticized Kim Petras for continuing to work with Dr. Luke.

German pop star Petras is one of Dr. Luke’s longtime collaborators, and he produced all seven tracks on her new EP, Slut Pop. Unlike Kelly Clarkson and Lady Gaga, who publicly broke off their working relationships with the producer, Petras doesn’t appear to believe Kesha’s accusations. When asked about Dr. Luke in a 2018 NME interview she said, “I wouldn’t work with somebody I believe to be an abuser of women.” She later responded to backlash stemming from this comment, saying although she had a positive experience with the producer, she didn’t intend to “dismiss the experiences of others or suggest that multiple perspectives cannot exist at once.”

By contrast, Lady Gaga was deposed during one of Kesha and Dr. Luke’s lawsuits, supporting Kesha’s accusations and saying, “That girl has experienced serious trauma.” So when Petras referenced Gaga on her new record, it immediately inspired some criticism.

In an interview with Buzzfeed last year, Petras said she is “held to a different standard than other artists” as a transgender woman. Petras certainly seems to receive more pushback than Dr. Luke’s male collaborators, like Young Thug and Lil Wayne. However she’s also the only artist releasing entire albums produced by Dr. Luke, and her fanbase has a lot of overlap with Kesha’s, which has led to more scrutiny.

As queer-friendly pop stars, Kesha, Petras, and Gaga play to similar audiences, and a lot of those listeners are disturbed by the Dr. Luke allegations. Saweetie and Doja Cat have also faced criticism for working with him, with Doja Cat eventually distancing herself from Dr Luke last year.

Following the Slut Pop album launch on Feb. 11, several #FreeKesha-related videos also went viral on TikTok. One person used Petras’ TikTok-popular, Dr. Luke-produced song “Coconuts” to spread awareness about the allegations against the producer, while others reposted clips from a 2016 #FreeKesha protest outside a Sony building, garnering hundreds of thousands of views.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Kim Petras’ representatives for comment.

Share this article
*First Published: Feb 14, 2022, 7:16 am CST