AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The maker of an upcoming PBS miniseries about groundbreaking pop music says the show is reconsidering scenes with Dr. Luke, the hitmaking producer who the pop star Kesha has accused of rape.
The documentary “Soundbreaking” airs this fall and is being screened this week at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin. The eight-part series was the last project of George Martin, the iconic producer who discovered the Beatles and died this month.
The premiere episode includes an interview with Dr. Luke, who was born Lukasz Gottwald. He is not charged with any crime and has denied Kesha’s claims of rape, saying she is smearing him to get out of her contract.
“Soundbreaking” producer Jeff Dupre told The Associated Press following Monday night’s premiere that Dr. Luke’s involvement in the series is now being revisited but did not indicate that a decision has been made.
“It’s a controversy and I don’t know what the truth is. But it’s something that we’ve thought about and discussed just over the last couple weeks,” Dupre said.
The version shown at SXSW had been done for months, Dupre said. The series includes interviews with Martin and a raft of music heavyweights, including Tom Petty and Paul McCartney, and traces the modernization of pop music through recording advances and visionary producers.
Dupre said Dr. Luke was interviewed for the series about a year and a half ago.
“We’re actually just talking about it now,” Dupre said of Dr. Luke’s appearance in the series. “I have no idea what his situation is or what actually happened. He’s a major, major, major producer.”
Representatives for Dr. Luke and PBS didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
Dr. Luke has produced some of the biggest pop hits over the past decade and has worked with stars including Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Kelly Clarkson and Nicki Minaj.
Fans of Kesha have called on Sony to cut ties with Dr. Luke and delivered a petition with more than 411,000 signatures to Sony’s Manhattan headquarters last week. A judge last month denied the “Tik Tok” singer’s initial request to be released from her contract, but Kesha has drawn support from celebrities including Taylor Swift, Adele and Lady Gaga.
Dr. Luke says Kesha fabricated her story about being drugged and raped a decade ago to get out of her recording contract. His lawyers point to a 2011 legal deposition in which Kesha said under oath that Dr. Luke “never made sexual advances” toward her. When asked whether he’d given her the date-rape drug known as a “roofie,” she said, “No.”
Kesha’s lawyers said the singer, born Kesha Rose Sebert, had been too afraid of the producer to speak up at the time.
Dr. Luke has produced a number of hits for Kesha, including “Tik Tok,” ”Your Love Is My Drug” and “We R Who We R.” She is signed to his label, Kemosabe Records.