Adele used one of the biggest nights of her career to voice support for Kesha, who is in a vicious legal battle with her record label over a contract tying her to her alleged rapist, producer Dr. Luke. At the BRIT Awards in London on Wednesday night, Adele ended her acceptance speech for the British Female Solo Artist award by casting her lot with the embattled pop star:
I’d like to take a quick second to thank my management and my record label for embracing the fact that I’m a woman and being encouraged by it, and I’d also like to take this moment to publicly support Kesha.
Thanking her record label in the same statement in which she supports Kesha is particularly significant, because Adele and Kesha’s record labels share a corporate parent in Sony, which is fighting in court to keep Kesha under contract. Kesha alleges that Dr. Luke repeatedly harassed, drugged, and raped her over their decade-long collaboration, and that Sony sidelined her career when she spoke out. Dr. Luke denies Kesha’s claims, which he says are fabricated.
Adele joins a lineup of musicians vocally supporting Kesha’s fight to leave Sony, including Taylor Swift, who reportedly donated $250,000 to Kesha’s legal defense. Today, before Adele’s acceptance speech, Kesha released a statement on Facebook specifically thanking “other entertainers who knowingly put their own careers at stake by supporting me,” and casting her struggle in a larger light:
I just want to say that if you have been abused, please don’t be afraid to speak out. There are places that will make you feel safe. There are people who will help you. I for one, will stand beside you and behind you. I know now how this all feels and will forever fight for you the way perfect strangers have been fighting for me.
But Adele’s support may carry special weight: She’s Sony’s biggest recording star, period. And for the rest of the night, she gave Sony executives good reasons to listen to her. Nominated for three more BRIT awards, she won all of them. “You’re probably getting f—ing bored of me, aren’t you?” she said in her acceptance speech for her third award—a Global Success Award that was announced from outer space by British astronaut Tim Peake.
And then, having convincingly demonstrated her interstellar popularity, Adele closed the show with this beautiful performance of “When We Were Young,” putting to rest any worries that her Grammys snafu was anything more than a tech issue.
Kesha, who has not released an album since 2012, did not perform at the BRIT Awards.