Suspended Grammys main Deborah Dugan alleges sexual misconduct in Recording Academy – The Guardian

Deborah Dugan, the main government and president of the Recording Academy, which organises the Grammy awards, who was suspended final 7 days soon after a misconduct allegation, has countered with her possess 44-site authorized criticism 5 times right before 2020’s awards ceremony. In it, she alleges sexual harassment and voting corruption in the enterprise. Her most significant claim is the academy was knowledgeable of allegations that her predecessor Neil Portnow, who was chief executive from 2002 to 2019, raped an unnamed female recording artist.

The submitting created by her legal team reads that immediately after she was employed, “Ms Dugan was hauled into a convention space and informed – for the pretty initial time – that a international recording artist (and member of the academy) experienced accused Mr Portnow of raping her pursuing a performance that she gave at Carnegie Corridor. The news was introduced to Ms Dugan as while the board had just realized of the allegation. In truth, they were being properly conscious of the allegation at the time Ms Dugan agreed to take on the CEO placement, but under no circumstances explained to her.” The allegation of assault was, she was informed, “the actual rationale his agreement was not renewed” in 2019. She statements she was nevertheless pressured by the then chairman John Poppo to rehire Portnow as a consultant with a $750,000 wage.

At the time, Portnow did not give reasons for stepping down as chief government, and only mentioned that he desired to produce a easy transition for his successor. The finish of his tenure had been heavily marred by feedback he created in 2018, in the wake of pretty several female winners at that year’s Grammys, that woman creatives desired to “step up” if they had been to be successful.

Portnow has not yet responded to the rape allegation. The academy unveiled a assertion dismissing Dugan’s accusations. It reads in aspect: “It is curious that Ms Dugan in no way elevated these grave allegations till a week soon after lawful claims were being manufactured against her individually by a feminine worker.”

Dugan was put on administrative depart very last 7 days, next the allegation of misconduct. A memo from the interim chief government to academy users earlier this 7 days gave further more particulars, saying Dugan fostered a “toxic and intolerable” operate surroundings and was “abusive and bullying”. Academy board member Christine Albert informed the New York Situations that Dugan’s leadership design and style experienced clashed with the academy, saying: “What we envisioned was improve with out chaos.”

In Dugan’s filing, she calls the academy’s allegation that she asked for $22m to resign “flat out false”. A even more assertion from her attorney Douglas Wigdor alleges she was made available “millions of bucks to fall all of this and go away the academy”, and was set on go away when she refused, and says Dugan “repeatedly lifted fears during her total tenure at the academy”, not just now pursuing her suspension.

In other places in her authorized submitting, made to the Equivalent Work Option Commission (EEOC), Dugan alleges that she was sexually harassed by amusement lawyer Joel Katz, who is standard counsel for the academy. She states he “acted particularly inappropriately” in the course of a company meal in May perhaps 2019, frequently remarking on her bodily appearance and attempting to kiss her and “woo her”. Katz’s law firm mentioned her recollection was “false and Mr Katz categorically and emphatically denies her version of that evening”.

She also alleges corruption in the academy’s voting methods. She presents the instance of a song longlisted for the 2019 music of the yr award, which was rated 18th place out of 20 tracks by the nominations committee, but which yet finished up on the shortlist as the artist at the rear of the song sat on the committee and was represented by a member of the Grammys board. She alleges that the nomination committees extra in artists who weren’t picked by the academy’s voting pool.

Her criticism says that the Grammys board “has made a decision to shroud the system in secrecy, and in the end controls, in massive aspect, who is nominated” and “manipulates the nominations process to assure that specific tracks or albums are nominated when the producer of the Grammys [Ken Ehrlich] wishes a distinct tune carried out on the show”. The academy has not responded to these particular allegations outside of the aforementioned dismissal of Dugan’s submitting.

Dugan’s filing says that the alleged conduct was designed feasible by a “boys’ club mentality” in the business. In an accompanying assertion, her lawful staff mentioned these accused used “tactics reminiscent of all those deployed by men and women defending Harvey Weinstein”.

The EEOC will now do the job to establish irrespective of whether Dugan’s allegations have advantage, and irrespective of whether her suspension discriminates versus her. Whatever the end result, it is a harming episode for a corporation that was attempting to rehabilitate its impression: as properly as criticism of its bias in direction of male winners, artists which includes Frank Ocean, Kanye West and Drake have criticised the awards in new several years more than a absence of help for non-white musicians in important classes.

In 2018, Michelle Obama’s former main of staff members Tina Tchen was employed to head up a taskforce to look at how the Grammys run. Its last report, released in December, proposed higher diversity in academy associates and variations to voting methods.

The 2020 Grammy awards acquire area on Sunday, with Lizzo earning the most nominations with eight, ahead of Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X with 6 every single.

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