After losing one lawsuit and launching another against her alleged sexual abuser, Dr. Luke, Kesha has just been hit with more bad news. The embattled pop star was set to perform at the Billboard Music Awards this weekend, but now Dr. Luke’s Sony-owned Kemosabe Records has apparently blocked the scheduled appearance.
Update – Thursday, May 19th at 3:30 CT p.m.:
According to Jessica Goodman of EW, Kemosabe has acquiesced and has given Kesha permission to perform at the BBMA. In a tweet, Goodman copied Kemosabe’s statement, which said they “suspended” their approval for the performance when they believed the singer would “use the performance as a platform to discuss the litigation. Now that Kemosabe has obtained assurances, that it is relying upon, from Kesha, her representatives and Dick Clark Productions that neither Kesha nor her supports will use the performance as such a platform, the approval has been restored.”
As Stereogum reports, TMZ ran a story last week saying that Kesha was planning to directly confront her legal situation with Dr. Luke (aka Lukasz Gottwald) during her BBMA performance. When Kemosabe was made aware of the report, they pulled their approval for Kesha’s appearance, effectively blocking her from performing during the awards show.
“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, the company behind the BBMAs, said in a statement via Billboard. “Kemosabe subsequently rescinded its approval following a media report on Wednesday May 11 regarding Kesha’s appearance on the BBMAs. Unfortunately, Kesha and Kemosabe have since been unable to come to an agreement for Kesha to perform on the show.”
They went on, “Dick Clark Productions has a long standing relationship with Kesha. 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 22nd.”
Kesha herself has since responded to the situation, denying the initial TMZ report and saying she had intended to cover Bob Dylan for the show, not address her messy legal battle. “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,” Kesha wrote on Instagram. “I’m very sad and sorry to say I won’t be allowed to do this. 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.”
Read her complete message below.
View this post on Instagram
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. 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.
It seems both Billboard and Kesha want to work something out before this weekend, though Kemosabe has yet to move on the matter. What was that about her not being a slave to her label?
Kesha intended to use her BBMA performance to cover Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe”, a song she instead performed last night with Ben Folds and Y Music in Los Angeles. She also joined the musicians for “Still Fighting It” and “Rock this Bitch”, the latter of which segued into Kesha’s own “Sleazy”. Watch videos of all those performances below.