Controversial pop producer Dr. Luke — who was accused of sexual assault and emotional abuse by Kesha in 2014 — won the Pop Music Songwriter of the Year award at the 2023 ASCAP Pop Music Awards on Thursday.
This is the third time Luke has taken home the award, having previously won in 2010 and 2011. This year, the accolade followed soaring streaming numbers of his songs like Latto‘s “Big Energy,” Nicki Minaj’s “Super Freaky Girl,” and Doja Cat’s “Need to Know,” “Woman,” and “You Right.”
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The timing for the award win is quite ironic after Kesha — who first sued Luke in 2014, alleging an extended period of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and attempting to extricate herself from her contract — released her album Gag Order Friday, with the LP detailing much of her anger related to her alleged experiences and ongoing legal battle with Luke. (A judge dismissed Kesha’s claims in 2016, largely on the grounds that they were too old, but Luke’s defamation suit continues to this day, despite several appeals. That case is set to go to trial this summer.)
“I feel as if there has been an implied gag order for a very long time now,” Kesha told Rolling Stone about her LP ahead of its release several weeks ago. “With my ongoing litigation hanging over my head, I have not been able to speak freely because I know everything I say is scrutinized.”
On “Fine Line,” Kesha sings, “all the doctors and lawyers [who] cut the tongue out of my mouth,” along with, “But hey, look at all the money we made off me.”
Despite the Kesha allegations and the producer’s 2021 claim that he lost $46 million due to the dispute, Luke has continued to produce music with some of the biggest names in the music industry throughout the last several years, most recently working with Kim Petras and Minaj on “Alone,” Lu Kala and Latto on “Lottery,” Saucy Santana on “1-800-Bad-Bitch,” and Lil Durk and J. Cole’s “All MY Life” just in 2023.
Other musicians who have worked with Luke — including Saweetie and Doja Cat — have shied away from giving direct answers about his involvement in their work. When Rolling Stone asked Doja Cat about working with the producer during a cover story interview, she claimed, “There’s shit that he’s credited for, where I’m like, ‘Hmm, I don’t know, I don’t know if you did anything on that.’” She later retracted the comment in a statement, writing, “The credits on my music are accurate, and I don’t want to imply anything else.”
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