Newly unsealed documents from Kesha’s ongoing legal battle against her former producer Dr. Luke reveal Lady Gaga’s firm support of Kesha in her September 2017 deposition.
Lady Gaga gave an eloquent and deeply personal defence of not only Kesha, but what it’s like to be a sexual abuse survivor and the ongoing trauma. Her deposition is both powerful and emotional, and all the more in the face of the the line of questioning Dr. Luke’s lawyers were posing.
For context, Lady Gaga was deposed to speak because of text messages between her and Kesha, which ended up leaking in June 2018. Kesha sued Dr. Luke in 2014, alleging he drugged and raped her while he was her music producer. Dr. Luke has denied these allegation and countersued for defamation – a court case which is ongoing.
According to the documents obtained by PEOPLE and first reported by The Blast, Lady Gaga engaged in a heated back and forth with Dr. Luke’s lawyers, to the point where she told one they should be “ashamed”.
The deposition was preluded by Lady Gaga’s lawyer reminding those present that Gaga herself is a survivor of sexual abuse and has PTSD from that experience. The deposition itself proved to be a trigger event, as Lady Gaga was crying at the time.
“I just want everyone to understand that, as she has publicly stated in other contexts, as a sex abuse survivor, and I know this from my own personal experience with family members, there are trigger events, and this deposition has proved to be a trigger event for Ms. Germanotta,” her lawyer said. (Lady Gaga was born Stefani Germanotta).
“And she has experienced in the past few hours some PTSD reactions which is causing some trauma and emotional reactivity. So she is crying now the record will reflect,” the lawyer added.
To begin, Gaga described meeting Kesha at Dr. Luke’s studio, recalling that the young star was in the back wearing only underwear.
When asked what Kesha told her about the alleged abuse, Gaga said: “What we discussed was, what I recall was her immense sadness and depression and fear. She was visibly very different than when I had seen her before, and — but I can’t say specifically what we spoke about. I just recall it was emotional and I wanted to be there for her.”
Dr. Luke’s lawyers rose the topic of his “reputation”, and how it has been affected by the accusation. Lady Gaga’s response was firm, and in clear support of Kesha’s accusations.
“Reputation, if you are asking about his reputation in the world, I don’t feel at liberty to speak for the entire world,” she responded according to the deposition transcript.
“So if you are asking what my view is of his reputation, I made my view of him and his reputation when I saw her in that back room. That was an image that — of something that happened to me, and I felt and knew in my heart that she was telling the truth, and I believe her.”
Dr. Luke’s lawyers responded by asserting that Gaga had “no personal knowledge or information as to any interaction between him and [Kesha], correct, physical or otherwise.”
But Gaga hit back, stating:
“Yes, I do have knowledge. She told me he assaulted her.”
Things appear to get progressively heated, and in response to the lawyers asking Gaga if she has any details about the alleged assault beyond what Kesha told her, she responded:
“Well, you know — when men assault women, they don’t invite people over to watch as witnesses.”
“And when this happens in this industry, it is kept extremely secret,” she continued. “And it is compounded by contracts and manipulative power scenarios that actually include this very situation that we are all in right now.”
Dr. Luke’s lawyers proceeded to raise the idea of false rape accusations – a concept which the entire defamation case is reliant upon.
“You think there has never been a false accusation of rape?” they asked Gaga.
Gaga responded: “You — how about all of the women that are accused of being liars and how she was slut shamed in front of the world, how about that? … You are suggesting that she is lying.”
The lawyer then called Kesha’s case a “he-said-she-said situation.”
To which Gaga responded: “I believe it to be true … I have factual knowledge of her depression. I have factual knowledge of her need for support and love. I have factual knowledge of the spiral that I watched that girl go down. I have factual knowledge of trauma. I am informed and intelligent about this issue. That girl has experienced serious trauma and she is in the middle of it right now. And you are all a party to it.
“Why on earth would this girl tell the entire world this happened?” Gaga continued. “Why on earth? Do you know what it’s like for survivors? Do you know what it’s like to tell people? Don’t you roll your eyes at me. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
After Dr. Luke’s lawyer denied rolling her eyes, both sides decided to briefly take a break from the deposition.
Lady Gaga’s statements during the deposition demonstrate how difficult it is to remain unemotional when discussing something that is so inherently personal, just as it’s difficult to remain unemotional when reading these discussions.