Music producer Dr. Luke said in 2012 that musicians were unwilling to give pop singer Kesha their songs to perform because of her weight, according to court documents filed this week amid the singer's case to get out of her recording contract.
Kesha, 29, has been involved in a three-year battle to get out of a multi-album recording deal with Sony Music and pop hitmaker Dr. Luke, whom she had accused of rape and emotional abuse during the early stages of her career.
The case has grabbed attention for shining a light on the behind-the-scenes struggles that female artists often face in the music industry, and Kesha has gained support from pop powerhouses such as Taylor Swift, Adele and Lady Gaga.
Dr. Luke has repeatedly denied the claims and has counter-sued for defamation.
Documents filed in New York state court this week show an email chain between Kesha's manager Monica Cornia and Dr. Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, in which he chastised the singer for breaking her juice diet by drinking soda and eating turkey.
"We all get concerned when she is breaking her diet plan... we have seen it happen multiple times ... almost every day," Dr. Luke wrote to Cornia on June 28, 2012. "It is also double concerning when the A list songwriters and producers are reluctant to give Kesha their songs because of her weight."
Another email chain from May 2012 outlines a dispute between the singer and the producer over the lyrics of a song.
Dr. Luke's lawyer, Christine Lepera, said in a statement on Wednesday the emails don't "disclose the larger record of evidence showing the bad faith of Kesha Sebert and her representatives which is greatly damaging to them."
She added the documents show "the tremendous support that Dr. Luke provided Kesha regarding artistic and personal issues, including Kesha’s own concerns over her weight."
Representatives for Kesha declined to comment to Reuters.
Kesha filed a civil lawsuit in 2014 in Los Angeles against Dr. Luke with numerous allegations including that the producer's insults to her appearance had caused her to develop bulimia nervosa, for which she underwent treatment.
The "Tik Tok" singer later dropped the lawsuit in California but her lawyers said she would continue her case in New York to get out of her contract.
A New York judge last year denied Kesha's bid to extricate herself from her recording contract, which sparked an emotional #FreeKesha campaign by the singer's fans on social media.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles; Editing by Alan Crosby)